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Full text of "The dramatic works of G.E. Lessing /"

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BOIW'S STANDARD LIBRARY. 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS, 

Vol. II. 



' Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/dramaticworksofg21less 



THE DEAMATIO WORKS 



G. E. LESSING. 



CransIatctJ from trjc ffirctman. 



EDITED BY 



ERNEST BELL, M.A., 

TBIXITST COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. 



COMEDIES. 



LONDON: 

GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET, 

COV T ENT GARDEN. 
1888. 



HHDm : 

PE1XTEP BT WILLlllI CLOWES AXD SOJfS, L1MI1 F. D. 
STMMKOKD STKEET AXD fUl BIH C CB08S. 



Javn\ 



PR EF AC E. 



Of the plays contained in this volume, the first five are 
here given to the English public for the first time ; the 
other three have been translated before — the last of them 
several times. The translation here given of these three 
is based on that of the late Eev. J. J. Holroyd, the use 
of which has been kindly permitted by his representa- 
tives. This version, however, though it rendered the 
spirit of the original very successfully, did not claim to 
be literally accurate, and with a view to obtaining greater 
literalness, the pieces have been carefully compared with 
the original, and considerable alterations have been intro- 
duced. In the revision of ' Minna von Bamhelm ' the 
editor has been aided by Professor Buchheim's excellent 
annotated edition, and would like here to express his 
thanks for several happy translations which he has 
adopted. 



CONTENTS. 



Preface .. .. .. .. .. „. v 

Damon, ok True Friendship .. .. \ 

The Young Scholar .. 25 

The Old Maid 109 

The Woman-hatkr .. .. .. .. 143 

The Jews .. .. .. .. 185 

The Freethinker .. .. .. 219 

The Treasure .. .. .. 289 

Minna von Barnhelrj .. .. .. 331 



DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 

(A COMEDY IN ONE ACT.) 



This play was written while Lessing was at school in Meissen, 
between the years 1741 and 1746. 



VOL. II. 



DRAMATIS PERSONS 



The Widow. 
Leander, 
Damon, 
Oronte, cousin to Damon. 
Lisette, maid to the Widow. 



Suitors. 



DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



Scene I. — The Widow, Lisette. 

Lis. Well, it is true, onr house has altered a great 
deal in a short time. Only a week ago it was a lively 
rendezvous for innumerable young gentlemen and love- 
sick fools. Every day some of them have dropped off. 
One day these stayed away, the next day those, and 
others the day after. God be thanked! two are still 
left. If they too should find their way off, our house 
will be deserted. Madame Madame ! 

Wid. Well, what is the matter ? 

Lis. Then I too should certainly remain no longer 
with you, however well off I may be. Society is the half 
of life. 

Wid. You would have been better fitted for an inn 
than for my service, then ? 

Lis. True. In an inn it is lively at any rate. If there 
was not so much work there, who knows what I might 
not have done ! If one is unfortunate enough to be a 
servant at all, I think it is most sensible to have a place 
where one can have the greatest pleasure with one's 
work. But joking apart ! What are Herr Damon and 
Herr Leander to you at present ? 

Wid. What are they ? 

Lis. This question seems strange to you? I know 
well enough what they were to you before— they were 
your suitors ! 

Wid. And so they are still. 

b 2 



4 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene I. 



Lis. So they are still? Eeally? Damon is then 
Leander's rival, and Leander Damon's. And yet Leander 
and Damon are the best of friends ? That is a new fashion. 
Against that I protest with might and main. What? 
Rivals who do not qnarrel with each other, and slander, 
abuse, deceive, challenge and fight each other, nice crea- 
tures they would be ! No ! The old way is right. Between 
rivals there must be enmity, or they are no rivals. 

Wid. It is true ; I myself have been rather astonished 
at their behaviour. No one behaved more affectionately 
towards me than they did before either of them knew that 
they had one and the same aim. No one was more tender, 
no one endeavoured more to gain my favour than they. 
No sooner did they perceive that one was the rival of the 
other, than both relaxed in their zeal to please me. Each 
spoke in favour of the other, Damon of Leander, and 
Leander of Damon. Both were silent about their own 
affairs. 

Lis. And in spite of this, you still consider both of 
them your suitors? 

Wid. Yes, 1 am thoroughly convinced that both love 
me. Both love me sincerely. Damon only appears to 
me too vacillating, and Leander a little too impetuous. 

Lis. I should almost like to ask you something. 

Wid. Very well ; let me hear it. 

Lis. But will you answer me candidly ? 

Wid. Shall I answer you candidly? I do not see 
what should make me give you a false answer. If your 
question does not please me I should prefer not to answer 
you at all. 

Lis. You believe that you are loved by both, and 
perhaps rightly. But which of them, then, do you love ? 
Wid. Which ? 
Lis. Yes. 

Wid. Which? The question is curious. I love them 
both. 

Lis. Well, that is good. Will you marry them both 
too? 

Wid. You confuse matters. We were speaking at 
present of loving, not of marrying. All suitors that I 
Lave had have been either vain, lovesick poltroons, or low- 



Scene I.] 



DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



5 



minded egoistic creatures. What have I not had to endure 
from both sorts ! Only Damon and Leander differed from 
them from the very beginning. I perceived this difference 
with the greatest pleasure. And I also think that I have 
given them to understand plainly enough how well I 
knew how to make a distinction with them. I have given 
their discharge to all who were not wise enough to take it 
themselves. I have only kept these two here, and I still 
see them with pleasure in my house. 
Lis. But what is to come of it ? 

Wid. I will wait and see. If I cannot become the 
best-beloved of both, I can become the friend of both, I 
suppose. Yes, truly, friendship appears to be now much 
more charming than love. I must ascribe this to the 
example of my tender lovers. 

Lis. What ? Friendship ? Friendship more charming 
than love ? Dry friendship ! Don't talk so philosophically, 
pray. I assure you I believe only as much of it as I like. 
Your heart thinks quite differently. And it would not do 
it much honour either if it did agree with the lips. Just 
let me try whether I understand its mute language. I 
hear it ; yes, yes, it speaks : " What? Are these sincere 
lovers ? What new kind of love is this, which the sight 
of a friend can stifle. Neither of them will run the risk 
of losing his friend for my sake. — Oh, the undeserving 

creatures ! I will hate them, yes, I will but shall 

I then be able to do so ? shall I " 

Wid. Silence, silence, Lisette! You understand its 
mute language very badly ! 

Lis. Oh, pardon me ! This interruption proves to me 
that I understand it very well. Well, well, how can it be 
otherwise ? I should be very vexed if friendship played 
me such a trick. Just consider, what else but friendship 
is to blame, that you are now without a suitor at all, 
when you might have two of them. Ah, it would be a 
shame if love were not stronger than friendship. 

Wid. Alas ! 

Lis. Ha, ha ! That I understand too. Just listen, if 
I can't explain it cleverly. It says this, does it not? 
" Lisette, do not force me further, to confess to you what 
you know already. Would to Heaven that love were 



6 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene II. 



stronger than friendship only in one of them ! If you can 
do anything towards making my lovers more sensitive and 

less conscientious " 

Wid. What wanderings are these ? 

Lis. Oh, I beg your pardon. — They are your own 

wanderings. 

Win. Suppose now I confessed to you, that I would 
prefer to see them both reveal their love to me more 
openly, — both strive tenderly to conquer my heart, — the 
one try to take the precedence of the other, — to see even 
the favours which I should bestow upon one in greater 
degree estrange them a little, — to be able even to have 
the pleasure of reuniting them, in order to separate them 
anew, — suppose, I say, I confessed this to you, what then ? 

Lis. Well, certainly it would be rather more than you 
were willing to confess a little while ago. 

Wid. But really I do not know at all what reason I 
have to give account of my heart to you. 

Lis. I agree with you, you have none, you do it from 
mere kindness. But your kindness shall not have been in 
vain, I assure you. I will do my utmost to make all 
happen as you wish. But just tell me first for which 
one do you think you would like best to declare yourself, 
for Damon or Leander ? You hesitate ? — Listen, a good 
idea occurs to me. You know that a year ago each em- 
barked almost the whole of his fortune on a particular 
ship which traffics with the East Indies. They are in 
daily expectation of the return of their ships. How would 
it be, if we too waited, and then declared ourselves for the 
one who has been most fortunate in this transaction ? 

Wid. I am willing. Only 

Lis. Here comes Herr Damon. Just leave me alone 
with him, I will sift him. 

Scene II. — Lisette, Damon. 

Lis. Your servant, Herr Damon ! You seem to be 
looking for somebody. Who is it ? 

Da. Leander was to meet me here. Have not you seen 
him ? 

Lis. No! .... But must you go away again im- 
mediately, on this account ? Stay a moment. Does the 



Scene II.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



7 



time already seem long to you, because he cannot come 
immediately and prattle to you his sweet dreams of friend- 
ship ? If you have only come to hear pleasing fibs, and 
enrapturing thoughts from your friend, stay, stay here, I 
will give you them as well as he. Truly, since you and 
Herr Leander have met here the very walls resound with 
the praise of friendship ; I must surely have retained a 
little of it. 

Da. These railleries are at my friend's expense. They 
must necessarily be offensive to me. Be silent, if you 
please. 

Lis. Eh ! The deuce might be silent under such cir- 
cumstances. Just consider for yourself! You are in the 
house of a young, amiable widow. You love her, you 
seek a return of your love. But, dear me, in what a 
peculiar way ! A friend intimidates you in your court- 
ship. You will not offend him. Your love is much too 
weak to endure his groundless reproaches. You prefer to 
neglect your lover rather than your friend. Very well, 
that might pass, if only the other one was not just as 
whimsical a fellow. 

Da. Our conduct cannot in any way appear strange 
to your mistress. She is aware of the affection of both of 
us. We both declared ourselves to her, before we knew 
we had declared the same thing. We endeavour to be 
sincere friends. Would it not therefore be unjust, if 
with impatient solicitation I wished to rob Leander or 
Leander to rob me of a heart, which may perhaps in time 
surrender itself to one of us from affection? 

Lis. From affection? As if a woman had not equal 
affection for every well-favoured man. For instance, what 
would I care whether I got you or Herr Leander? Do 
not take it amiss, that for once I indulge my pride in such 
sweet dreams. You and Herr Leander are of healthy con- 
stitution, robust and cheerful. One cannot go wrong in 
the choice between two equally good things. Take the 
first that comes. 

Da. You judge your mistress by yourself, and cer- 
tainly you do not do her much honour by it. I know 
her too well. She has nobler ideas of love. 

Lis. Ah, do not take it ill of me. Love is love. A 



8 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene II. 



queen does not love better than a beggar, or a philosopher 
more nobly than a stupid peasant. And I and my 
mistress certainly would not differ a hair's breadth in 
the important part of love. 

Da. Good morning. I have neither inclination nor 
time at present to refute your groundless talk. Should 
Herr Leander come, beg him, please, to wait a moment. I 
have first a little business to transact. I shall be back 
directly. 

Lis. Bother it! Just wait another moment! You 
call my talk groundless ? Well then, just listen, and I'll 
tell you something. Perhaps it will seem a little better 
grounded to you then. 

Da. Well, I shall have to hear something extraordinary, 
then. 

Lis. Do you know what my mistress has decided to 
do ? She is going to wait until the two ships have come 
back in which you have placed your fortunes. And she 
will marry the one straight off who has been most success- 
ful in the business. Do you believe now, that it will be 
all the same to my mistress, whether she gets you or Herr 
Leander. Eh ? 

Da. What ? Your, mistress has decided to do that ? 
Go and tell your tale to some one else. 

Lis. Well, why does that seem so improbable to you ? 
Is it so wicked that one rather marries a rich man than 
a poor one? You foolish men would sooner count your 
buttons, I suppose, when you cannot make up your mind. 
And yet I should think she has acted ten times more 
wisely in leaving it to fate to turn the scale and settle 
her feelings for her. 

Da. Heavens! How unhappy I am, if you speak 
the truth. Could I ever have imagined, that riches had 
such charms for her ? Do they alone make us precious ? 
Does she not find anything in Leander or myself which 
could counterbalance this dazzling trifle ? I could almost 
repent of loving a person, who so basely 

Lis. Come, come ! Gently, gently ! Not so much 
abuse. Did you expect something better? The money 
itself is not exactly what she desires in you. The 
feelings of my mistress towards you and Herr Leander 



Scene IV.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 9 

are equally balanced at present, and the money is only to 
be a little addition which will give the advantage to one 
scale or the other. ! grasping we are not ! Do not say 
that of us, mind ! Although, after all, it would be no 
shame for us if we were so. Why, you show her plainly 
enough, by not having spoken to her again for a long time 
of your love, that it would be all the same to you if she 
declared herself for you or for your friend,— and Leander 
has done the same. So how could she act more judiciously? 

Da. Alas, that I am so enamoured of her, and that 
I am so conscientious in friendship ! 

Lis. Would you have been better pleased if my mistress 
had let you cast lots for her — the one with the most or 
the fewest points to have had her for his wife ? This is 
a very praiseworthy custom among soldiers, when of 
two culprits who are to be hanged his life is to be 
granted to one, and each of them deserves it as little 
as the other. Yes, yes, she ought to have followed this 
fashion here too, I suppose. Oughtn't she ? 

Da. Your railleries are very much out of place. My 

heart is but I will go. Lisette, Lisette, how 

uneasy you have made me ! Good Heavens ! 

Scene III. — Lisette. 

Well, he has a flea in his ear now. But what does it 
profit me ? I can understand him as little now as before. 
If only I could have got him at least so far as to come 
out with his love-declarations again. But really words 
are thrown away on him ; — he was on needles and pins. 
Hush, here comes Leander. Let me see what can be done 
with him ! 

Scene IY.— Lisette, Leander. 

Lis. A little sooner and you would have met him. 

Lea. Eeally ? Has Damon been here already ? 

Lis. Yes, and he will be back again immediately. You 
are to wait a little. But how cross you look to-day for 
once, Herr Leander ! That face does not become a suitor 
at all ! For shame, be lively now and nice and merry ! 



10 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene IV. 



Lea. He who has as much cause for vexation as I 

Lis. Bah! Don't tell me that. You have a great 
deal on your heart to trouble you, I dare say. I can 
almost guess, too, what it is. Ah ! love torments you ! 
Are you tired at last of ranking friendship above it? 
That would only be what is right. Courage ! Never 
mind a friend. Make my mistress another offer. I give 
you my word you will get her. But if you go on dally- 
ing any longer, I will not answer for anything. My 
mistress cannot choose. She has resigned all to blind 
chance, — unless one vi>f you comes soon to take her, she 
means to give her heart, hand and fortune to the one 
who is most fortunate in the business with the East 
Indies. — What is the matter with you? .... What is 
the matter? 

Lea. Lisette, for Heaven's sake ! To the one who is 
most successful ? Now my misery is complete. 

Lis. Complete ! What does that mean ? Explain 
yourself. 

Lea. Well, I will confide in you. Know then, that 
only last night I received news that my ship was 
wrecked in a storm. Cruel Fate ! Was it then not 
enough to rob me of my fortune, must you also tear 
away from me the object of my so tender love ? 

Lis. The other abused my mistress and he abuses 
Fate. And both, after all, are innocent. Herr Leander, 
your misfortune touches me. I can well believe that it must 
cause one enough vexation to lose one's fortune. I have 
not yet gone through this painful experience, for, Heaven 
be thanked, I have not got a fortune. But if the vexation 
at losing riches is as great as the desire of gaining them, 
then it must be insupportable. I confess it. But to 
come to the other point ! The object of your tender love 

I presume you mean my mistress. Don't you ? 

Listen now this loss you have brought on your- 
self. But if you will obey me, Herr Leander, she may 
not be quite lost yet, however it may seem to be. 

Lea. Speak openly, pray? I will obey you in every- 
thing which can be of use to me. 

Li^. Bi' t I doubt if you will do it. 

Le.a , 1/ ) not doubt, I beg you. 



Scene IV.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



11 



Lis. I know your obstinacy only too well. You are 
too much taken up with your lofty notions of friendship. 
Damon, your dearest friend in the world, the most precious 
gift of Heaven, without which all things, all honour, all 
pleasure seem but despicable to you, — but vain and taste- 
less ; Damon, your second self, whose happiness is your 
happiness, whose misfortune is your misfortune ; Damon, 
the noble Damon, the 

Lea. Yes, quite so, Lisette ! You will never be able 
to praise him sufficiently. He is the only one who will 
help me to bear my misfortune. I have always had the 
best opinion of him and the tenderest feelings towards 
him. I doubt not, he will now show how worthy he is 
of my friendship. Had he lost his fortune, mine would 
have been his. I should refuse for his sake the hand 
of the most lovable being. Damon, yes Damon 
had he my heart But I know, the true tender- 
ness of friendship he never has been quite able to feel 
properly. 

Lis. Yes, Herr Leander, if you wish to be happy you 
must forget this Damon for a time. Do not start at this 
proposition ! 

Lea. How do you mean that ? 

Lis. Well, I see that you demand my explanation with 
a tolerably composed face. Do not be afraid. I recom- 
mend no treason against your friend. Neither will he nor 
you yourself have cause to reproach you for anything. 
To be brief, go to my mistress. Make her a straightfor- 
ward offer. Assure her that Damon does not love her 
any more. If necessary add a few fibs, which will make 
him more hateful to her. You will see, all will go well. 

Lea. But suppose now, she persists in waiting to see 
who will be the most successful in this affair, nothing will 
help me then. 

Lis. (aside) Hm ! Is that the steadfast friend ? Can 
he be talked over so easily? — (aloud) She will hardly 
insist upon that, Herr Leander. But suppose, even, she 
did, it won't do any harm to us. And I'll tell you some- 
thing. I know that you and Herr Damon have several 
times been inclined to exchange your capitals. They 
are of equal value. I should think you might try to 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene IV. 



persuade Herr Damon to do it still. He does not know 
yet, I suppose, that your ship is said to have foundered. 
Lea. No! 

Lis. Well, that will do very well. Try to get his 
capital and resign yours to him with all the profits. 
You can easily do that, and you will easily be able to 
hit upon a plausible pretext. Suppose you said to him : 
" Dearest Damon, friendship has united us sufficiently 
closely. How would it be, however, if we employed our 
worldly possessions also to unite ourselves even more 
firmly? Let us therefore make an exchange of the said 
capitals, which we have put in the East Indian affair. 
Should yours have yielded more interest than mine, I 
should have to thank you for a part of my fortune. If 
mine should have increased more, I shall have the pleasure 
of seeing in your hands that which good luck had in 
reality destined for me. And shall we not by this means 
be all the more bound to assist one another with our for- 
tunes in any case of necessity which may occur ? " 

Lea. Your advice is good. And also the pretext seems 
plausible enough. But I fear that my friend might 
entertain a suspicion of me. On this account I should 
not like to make this proposal myself. Could you not 
perhaps suggest this idea to your mistress? If she ap- 
peared to like it then 

Lis. I understand you, I understand you. Rely upon 
me, and make haste to go to my mistress. 

Lea. Directly I have spoken with my friend. God is 
my witness that my intentions throughout are honest. I 
know for certain that my friend could not be sufficiently 
magnanimous to fulfil the duties towards me which in 
case of the loss of my fortune our friendship would 
impose upon him. I will free him, therefore, from the 
shame of being called an unfaithful friend by posterity. 
But on my side I will show him that my words agree 
entirely with my deeds. He shall have the half of my 
fortune 

Lis. Considering that the whole belongs to him by 
right — That is a sincere friend ! 

Lea. I will do everything to help him on again. Per- 
haps another time he may be successful. Perhaps 



Scene V.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



13 



Lis. Hush ! hush ! Herr Damon is coming back. I 
will go. He might think we had had who knows what 
to talk about together. I will go to my mistress. Follow 
me soon. — (Aside) Well, that, I am sure, I should not 
have expected. 

Scene V. — Leander, Damon. 

Lea. So I must not say anything to him about my 
misfortune, which, however, is just what I asked him to 
come here for. What then shall I have to say to him ? 
Never mind, something will turn up. 

Da. O my dearest Leander, forgive me that I have 
kept you waiting. 

Lea. I forgive you ? How have you offended me ? Do 
lay aside once for all, dearest friend, this misconception 
so detrimental to me, that you are able to offend me. 
One friend is never angry with another. The common 
herd, to whom the sweet union of souls is unknown and to 
their irreparable loss will eternally remain unknown, — the 
common herd, the disgrace of the human race, may quarrel 
among themselves. Friendship arms a noble soul with an 
insurmountable moderation. What its friend does, what 
comes from its friend, is right and pleasing to it. Offences 
only become offences through the evil designs of 'him who 
offends and the sensitiveness of him who is offended. 
Where, therefore, no one has evil designs and no one is 
sensitive there exist no offences. And, does one friend then 
foster evil designs against another ? Or will one friend 
then become sensitive about another? No. Therefore, 
dearest Damon, even if through you the greatest disgrace 
should befall me ; if through you I should lose honour and 
repute ; if through you I should lose property and money ; 
if through you I should become sick, lame, blind and deaf ; 
if you should deprive me of father and mother ; if you 
even took my life ; do you believe, dearest Damon, that 
you would have offended me? No, however much you 
might be wrong, you would none the less be right to me. 
Even should the whole world condemn you, I should ex- 
culpate you, I should acquit you. 

Da. 1 should like, Leander, to be able to answer you 



14 



lessixg's dramatic y, t orks. 



[SCEXE V. 



with equal ardour. I will endeavour never to put your 
friendship to so severe a test. 

Lea. Eh, dearest friend, why so cold ? Do you doubt 
the sincerity of my words? Do you doubt that my 
friendship would stand this test ? Would to Heaven, — yes, 
would to Heaven, that you would offend me, the sooner 
the better, in a manner which to another would be 
unpardonable. How pleased, how delighted would I be, 
to j)ractise on you the sweet revenge of magnanimous 
forgiveness. 

Da. And I will wish, on the contrary, that I may 
never have need of this magnanimous forgiveness. 

Lea. Yes, Damon, and I shall also expect the same 
from you in a similar case. 0, I know you too well, your 
heart is noble and generous. It does not. permit me to 
doubt. 

Da. You credit me with too much, most valued 
Leander ! I confess to you, full of shame, that I find 
myself too weak for that. The ideas seem true and noble 
to me, but their accomplishment impossible. I tremble 
already in anticipation at the thought that my friendship 
may perhaps some day have to bear such a severe test. 
Your virtue, however, is my security. And is a friend 
really constrained to use such an all too magnanimous 
moderation ? I know it is the duty of a friend to forgive 
another, but it is also the duty of the other to give him as 
little occasion for it as possible. 

Lea. My friend ! In forgiving, we must resemble 
Heaven. Our trespasses, however great and frequent 
they are, do not weary it in this its worthy employment. 
Him whom one has once chosen for one's friend, one must 
retain ! Neither his faults nor his offences must be able 
to banish him from our favour. He disgraces himself 
who lets it come to this. Or is it then no disgrace to 
have to confess with shame that one has been grossly 
mistaken in one's choice ? 

Da. But, dearest Leander, tell me why you desired to 
speak to me ? What is the important news which you 
have to disclose to me ? 

Lea. Do my words become tedious to you ? I cannot 
believe it. You know how one likes to speak of things 



Scene V.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



15 



which are pleasant to one. And I know one also likes 
equally well to hear of them. But you do not seem to he 
quite in the mood for either to-day. What troubles you ? 
Has any misfortune befallen you ? Eeveal it to me ! 
Give me the pleasure of sharing your grief with you. 
You shall then hear what I have to tell you. 

Da. You are not mistaken, I am perplexed and 
grieved ! 

Lea. And at what? 0, why do you hesitate to 
confide your secret to me? Do you distrust my dis- 
cretion? Do you doubt that I shall help you, if it is 
in my power ? Or do you doubt my sympathy ? When- 
ever I can pour out my heart to you half of my grief 
vanishes immediately. Only try it ! Perhaps I am so 
fortunate that you also may find some relief in my con- 
fidence. 

Da. It concerns you and me. 

Lea. And so much the more reason to speak it out ! 
Or must you keep it secret ? 0, what one has told only to 
one's friend, one has told to no one. My friend and I are 
one. And if I had taken the most solemn oath, never to 
breathe a word to any one of this or that, I might yet 
without breaking my oath relate it to my friend. What 
I confide to him, I confide to myself. And I do nothing- 
more than repeat it once again to myself in thought. 

Da. No ! No ! It shall not be concealed from you ! 
Can you imagine what madame has resolved to do ? 

Lea. What ? 

Da. Well, just guess on what she will make the choice 
between us two rest. 

Lea. It was just this, my Damon, — just this that I too 
had to tell you. 

Da. To speak candidly, I am astounded at this base 
resolution. No, Leander, rather than owe her hand to 
such a shameful cause I will renounce her for ever. 

Lea. And do you believe, then, that I should accept 
her? We have the most disinterested intentions with 
respect to her. We should love her even if she possessed 
nothing whatever. And she is so self-interested. Is 
despicable wealth the only thing which pleases her in us ? 

Da. What if we tried to foil this resolution in every 



16 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene V. 



possible way ? May I propose something to you ? What 
do you think if we shared the gain and loss in this affair ? 

Lea. (aside) Hist ! That is grist for my mill. The 

exchange would then be necessary (aloud) Yes, 

you are right ! Nothing could more easily bring her 
back to the right course — to choose between us for love's 
and merit's sake. I agree to it. 

Da. ! How happy you make me again by your 
approval. I feared all the time, I feared you might with- 
hold it from me in this matter. And you would have 
had a right to do so. 

Lea. How little you give me credit for ! Indeed, what 
right could I possibly have not to be at one with you 
in this ? Why, all things are common between friends ! 
What is mine is yours. And I consider that I too have a 
little claim upon what is yours. Away with selfishness ! 
even though by this, fate should be so unfavourable to 
you that you should lose all, all. Not the half of my 
fortune, but the whole would be as good as yours at any 
time. 

Da. Friend, you make me quite ashamed ! 

Lea. What I say, I should also do. And if I had done 
it, I should not, after all, have done anything more than 
what the duty of a friend demands. 

Da. But I do not understand what hidden feeling 
within me makes me doubt the very truth of her resolu- 
tion. Could Lisette after all 

Lea. I too have it from her. Yet we shall find that 
out. It is of no little importance to us both. Will you 
excuse me? I will go myself to our beloved and inquire. 

Da. But, Leander! how will that do? Will she not 
be hurt by this inquisitiveness ? 

Lea. Do not fear, I shall know how to introduce the 
subject in such a way that 

Da. Very well, I rely on your skill. Come back soon, 
and bring me word. 

Lea. (aside) Well, that is a good pretext for getting 
away from him. 



Scene VII.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



17 



Scene VI. — Damon. 

Either I am quite unadapted for friendship 

or Leander has very extravagant ideas about it I 

should be unhappy if the former were true Yes 

friendship is certainly that which must 

primarily make life agreeable to us So much I 

feel but so much as my friend says he feels, I do 

not feel Suppose he offended me .... he offended 

me in such manner as he wished me to offend him 

should I no, I will not natter myself 

I should. ... I should be much too weak, to 

forgive him Yes, I should take it in bad part if 

he should pardon me on such an occasion. ... I should 

even blame him Yet I do not think him 

even capable of it either let him be what he will 

but perhaps I am mistaken I judge 

him by myself does it follow then, because I am 

so weak that another But certainly such a perfect 

friendship is not for this world I wonder whether 

Leander really thinks as he speaks Stop 

I will yes, suppose I told him, that I had received 

news that my vessel was wrecked. Then I shall see 

whether his generosity it would be rather a joke, 

if I saw him perplexed But no that was 

a mean thought To put one's friend to a test, is 

to wish to lose one's friend No but sup- 
pose the widow held to her foolish resolution 

Suppose Leander became happy through her 

shall I be able to remain his friend ? I tremble 

yes I feel my weakness I should be angry 

with him I should grow envious ah, I 

am truly ashamed of myself. 



Scene VII. — Oronte, Damon. 

Oro. Well, there you are ! D'ye see ? Cousin, I have 
had to look for you in ten different houses ! D'ye see ? I 
should have expected to find you anywhere sooner than at 
the young widow's. 

Da. What the deuce brings you here, cousin ? 

VOL. II. C 

S 



18 



LESSIXG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene CIL 



Oro. Well? Can't you tell what I want? D'ye see? 
Make yourself ready to hear some news which will half 
kill you. D'ye see? And if you still have a little reason 
left, d'ye see, will drive you mad. 

Da. You frighten me ! What is it then ? 

Oro. Did I not tell you, d'ye see, that you would have 
bad luck with your capital ? D'ye see ? See there, read 

that Your ship is wrecked There, just read 

that, d'ye see you will find all particulars, d'ye 

see ? 

Da. Eeally ! 

Oro. Well, didn't I tell you before, d'ye see ? But you 
young fellows never let yourselves be told, d'ye see ? 
You want to know everything, everything best. All 
right, d'ye see, all right ! 

Da. I should not have expected this misfortune 

Oro. Is that all one can say, d'ye see, when one loses 
one's fortune ? carelessness ! iniquitous careless- 
ness ! D'ye see ? Up to twelve thousand thalers, d'ye 
see, twelve thousand thalers ! Well, cousin, say what 
you will do now ! D'ye see ? You are forsaken, forsaken 
by the whole world, and rightly, d'ye see ? Can you deny 
that I told you beforehand? Can you deny it? D'ye 
see ? How many times have I given you the golden 
rule? What gets into the water is as good as half lost, 
d'ye see ? 

Da. Ah ! let the money go where it likes — if only 

Oro. Ah, never mind the money. Sensible talk that ! 
D'ye see? Damon, Damon, a man who can think like 
that, is not worthy to be my cousin. D'ye see? Ah, 
never mind the money. No, Heaven be thanked, d'ye 
see ? I never was so foolish and godforsaken in my 
youth. Do you think, d'ye see, that the young widow 
will marry you now ? D'ye see ? She would have to be 
a stupid ! D'ye see ? 

Da. Yes, cousin, this is my fear. And this is also 
the only thing which makes my misfortune painful to 
me. 

Oro. The fool ! D'ye see ? As if it were not painful 
enough without it ! D'ye see ? Yet, cousin, that you may 
see, d'ye see, how well disposed I am towards you, d'ye see, 



Scene VII.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



19 



I will advise you under the circumstances: Announce 
your bankruptcy. 

Da. What, such a mean 

Oro. What, what, mean? D'y e see ? You call it 
mean, d'ye see, to be a bankrupt ? The deuce, d'ye see ? 
Have I not been bankrupt live times ? And have I been 
mean ? D'ye see ? Haven't I got all my money from the 
bankruptcy ? D'ye dee ? My wife caused my first failure, 
d'ye see ? She was a proud, extravagant fool ( May 
Heaven bless her, d'ye see ? But may Heaven also reward 
her, for no doubt she is there, d'ye see, as she always 
liked to be wnere there were gay and grand doings, d'ye 
see — may Heaven reward her, I say, d'ye see, that she has 
helped me to such a short road to wealth. D'ye see? 
Do you think, cousin, I should have stopped with five 
failures, if I had not been expressly forbidden, d'ye see, 
to begin business again ? D'ye see ? 

Da. No, cousin, I cannot flatter you at all. The 
wealth so basely acquired brings you little honour. 

Oro. Ah, ah ! honour ! Honour ! D'ye see ? Honour 
is the question ! Many a one, d'ye see, must starve in 
spite of all his honour. Ah, honour ! What a fanciful 
fellow you are ! D'ye see ? I suppose it will be all the 
same to my heirs, d'ye see, whether I had my money with 
honour or without honour. D'ye see? They will be 
grateful to me, even if I had stolen it. D'ye see ? 

Da. No, cousin, if your heirs are sensible, they will 
employ their inheritance after your death to restore their 
fortunes to those who have been rendered unhappy by your 
failures. 

Oro. W T hat, what? D'ye see? My heirs are to do 
that ! Well, if I thought that, certainly, d'ye see, 
certainly, I would sooner have everything I possess put 
in my grave with me. Shall I have toiled and moiled for 
nothing ? Five times I have had to swear. Should I have 
sworn five times for nothing? D'ye see? Well, listen, 
cousin, as I see that you would act so contrary to right 
and duty — d'ye see? — I will just omit you in my will. 
D'ye see? Then you may see, after all, what one does 
when one has nothing. D'ye see ? 

Da. Heaven will then provide for me. 

c 2 



20 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC "WORKS. [Scene YIII. 



Oro. Who, who? D'ye see? Who will provide for 
you ? Heaven ? Yes, comfort yourself, yes ; Heaven will 
provide for you as for the sparrows in winter. Heaven 
wants us, d'ye see, just to look after ourselves. For this 
reason it has given us wit and intelligence. D'ye see ? 

Da. Yes, and wickedness and avarice also to many a 
one, in case wit and intelligence should not be sufficient. 

Oro. Cousin, is that meant for me ? D'ye see ? Don't 
you be so impertinent ! But I know what you are 
reckoning on now. D'ye see ? You think now you will 
make a good match. But, I will snatch the lamb from 
the wolf yet ! D'ye see ? Leander has now the right to 
it. His ship has arrived safely, although they had written 
him at first, d'ye see, that it had been lost. It is, how- 
ever, nothing but a mistake, d'ye see? Yours, yours is 
gone to the deuce, d'ye see? 

Da. What ? They had written that to Leander ? And 
he said nothing to me ! 

Org. Must one stick everything under your nose then ? 
D'ye see? Well, well, you will find out, what harm 
your misfortune will do you in spite of your honour and 
Heaven. I am going myself to the widow now. She 
shall hear every thing. D'ye see ? Good bye. D'ye see ? 

Scexe YIII. — Damon. 

Yexatious news ! I lose my fortune that 

might pass Who knows had Leander been unlucky, 

whether I might have been sufficiently generous to help 

him What a disgrace for me if I had proved false to 

him ! Heaven has wished to guard me against 

that I am fortunate in all my misfortune 

but I lose the amiable widow at the same time she 

will give herself now to Leander without any scruple 

to Leander but then Leander is my friend 

love that confounded love does 

not my friend deserve her just as much as I do ? Why 
should" I care much for a woman, whose heart, if even I 
had got it, I should only have got for the sake of my 

money ? And yet she is amiable. . . . how I have 

to struggle with myself! But Leander could 



Scene X.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 21 



it be true that he received this false news? and 

could he have withheld it from me ? how could he 

have accepted the proposal which I made him ? 

most strange thoughts arise in me but away with 

them they disgrace my friend. 

Scene IX. — Lisette, Damon. 

Lis. So lonely ? And so sorrowful ? 

Da. Alas, Lisette, to lighten my grief, I must tell it to 
the first person I meet, whoever it is. I have been un- 
fortunate. My ship has been lost in a storm. I have the 
most certain information. Heavens ! and at the same time 
I lose all hope of your mistress 

Lis. What ? Wasn't Leander's misfortune enough ? 

Da. How? Leander's? His ship has arrived safely, 
you know. What other misfortune has happened to him ? 

Lis. Yes, his ship has come in as nicely as yours. He 
told me so himself just now. 

Da. Told you so himself? — My suspicion is, then, after 

all, not without grounds In spite of it, Lisette, you 

can believe me, that that was merely an error about his 

ship but could my friend have committed a false 

act towards me, I wonder ? 

Lis. False ? How false ? Heaven forbid ! Leander is 
the truest friend in the world. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Da. Why do you laugh ? 

Lis. Yes, that is certain. You can rely on his fidelity 
now. Ha ! ha ! ha ! He will stand by you honestly. 
Ha, ha, ha ! 

Da. I certainly hope so too. 

Lis. And I too. Ha, ha, ha ! I know his good inten- 
tions. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Scene X. — Oronte, The Widow, Leander, Damon, 
Lisette. 

Wid. Dearest Damon, I have heard the sad tidings 
from your cousin. I assure you your misfortune could 
not have touched me more, if it had happened to myself. 

Lea. My dearest friend, fortune has been adverse to you. 
I know your mind is too composed to be troubled greatly 



22 



LESSINS^S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Scene X. 



by this transitory loss. I hope also that you will be easily 
reconciled to fortune. It may restore to you more richly at 
some future time that of what it has deprived you now. 

Oro. Yes, cousin, d'ye see? Some future time, some 
future time. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Lea. You, Madam, have had the kindness to declare 
yourself for the most fortunate of us two. Heaven willed 
that I should be the one. But I shall only consider 
myself in reality to be such, when through the precious 
gift of your heart 

Wid. And can you repeat this offer, Leander, in the 
presence of your friend ? 

Da. Just Heaven ! What do I hear ? 

Lea. Madam, I know my friend too well. He will 
not attempt to stand in the way of your hapjnness. He 
cannot offer you anything but his heart. I can accompany 
mine with a ches : of gold. 

Da. Leander, you will Anger and astonishment 

deprive me of words. 

Oro. Listen, cousin, l will just tell you something, 
d'ye see ? You cannot marry the pretty widow now. That 
is pretty certain, d'ye see ? She won't be of much use to 
Leander either. D'ye see ? She pleases me well enough. 
D'ye see? I should not mind having her. I think you 
had better propose me to her, d'ye see ? I am too timid 
for it. D'ye see? See to this. Do all that is in your 
power, and I promise I will not forget you in my will. D'ye 
see ? I can bring her two chests of gold, d'ye see ? 

Lea. I implore you, Madam, speak, that my friend may 
know what he has to hope. 

Oro. Madam, do not speak too quickly ! D'ye see ? My 
cousin knows a nice bridegroom for you, d'ye see, who 
might well suit you. You can get two chests of gold 
with him. D'ye see ? Cousin, cousin, tell her, do ! 

Wid. That will be unnecessary. My resolution is 
already taken. It is true, Leander, that I have said, I 
would choose the most fortunate of you. I will keep my 
word. You, dearest Damon, are the most fortunate ! 

Da. I? 

Lea. Damon ? 

Oro. What ? what do you say ? My cousin? Dear me, 



Scene X.] DAMON, OR TRUE FRIENDSHIP. 



2:J 



wliy ? It is his ship that has been lost, madam ! D'ye 
see? Leander has one chest of gold, d'ye see? And I 
have two, d'ye see ? Consequently, consequently you must 
mean me. 

Wid. Yes, yes, Damon, you have been the most for- 
tunate in this affair. You have been fortunate in finding 
an opportunity to show your noble mind in such an ex- 
ceptional manner. But your greatest good fortune is, that 
you have now received light to perceive the falseness of 
your friend, whose pompous gibberish has dazed you 
hitherto. Leander, consider your conduct. You had re- 
ceived the tidings that your ship was lost. In your 
anxiety you sought relief from me. You disregarded your 
friend in a shameful manner. My resolution to declare 
myself for the most fortunate was only disagreeable to 
you in as far as you feared that you would not be the one. 
You tried to persuade me that Damon loved me no longer. 
And, lastly, think of the exchange to which I was to tempt 
Damon at a time when you thought that his affairs stood 
better than yours. Consider all this, and be ashamed to 
have deceived a friend who esteemed you above every- 
thing. Go ! Enjoy your wealth, which could really have 
fallen to no unw^orthier man. 

Da. Leander, am I to believe it? You wished to 
deceive me ? 

Lea. Damon I have wronged you. Farewell ! 

Da. Leander, dearest Leander ! where are you going ? 
Stay! 

Lea. .Let me go, I beg you, I must flee from your 
presence. I die with shame. It is impossible, — you can- 
not forgive me. 

Da. I not forgive you ? Leander, would that my for- 
giveness were anything to you ! Yes, yes ! All is forgiven 
you already. Remain here, my friend ! You have been 
rash. But the man, not the friend, has committed this 
rashness. Madam, you are angry with Leander. I refuse 
all, if with me you do not forget everything. If you 
separate us, I shall necessarily be the most unhappy. I 
know how difficult it is to find a friend. And if for the 
first offence one will forsake him, one will seek a lifetime 
for one in vain. 



24 



lessing's dramatic works. 



Lea. Damon judge from these tears whether I 

am moved ! 

Wid. Well, Leander ! Damon forgives yon. And I 
myself do not know whether I am more moved by his 
generosity or your repentance. Let us also begin our 
friendship anew. Damon, how tender will your love be, 
since your friendship is so tender ! 

Oro. So my wooing was no good, after all ! 

Da. Confess at least, dear Leander, that it is a little • 
more difficult to practise the duties of friendship, than to 
rhapsodise about it. 

Lea. Yes, Damon, I have often spoken of friendship, 
but only to-day have I learned from you what it is. 

Wid. Damon ! Damon ! I fear, I fear, I shall become 
jealous. Not, indeed, on account of a woman, but of 
Leander ! 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR, 



(A COMEDY IN THEEE ACTS.) 



This play was sketched and partly written while Lessing was at 
school at Meissen, and completed at the University of Leipzig in 
1747. It was represented for the first time at Leipzig under the 
direction of Frau Neuber, in January 1748. 



DBAMATIS PEESON^. 



Chrysander, an old merchant. 

Damis, the young scholar, son of Chrysander, 

Yaler. suitor to Juliane. 

Juliane, adopted daughter of Chrysander. 

Anton, servant to Damis. 

Lisette, servant girl. 

Hie scene is in Damis' study. 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



ACT L 

Scene I. — Damis (at a table covered with books), Anton. 

Da. Then the post has not yet come in ? 
An. No. 

Da. No ? Did yon ask for the right one ? The post 
from Berlin 

An. Of course ; the post from Berlin ; it has not 
arrived yet. If it doesn't come in soon, I shall shortly 
have walked my legs off. You go on just as if it would 
bring you — who knows what ? Now I'll wager that if it 
does come at all, it will bring some new rubbishing volume, 
or a newspaper, or else a trashy pamphlet. 

Da. No, my good Anton ; this time it will be some- 
thing more than that. Ah ! if you knew what 

An. Do I want to know it then ? Much good would 
it do me, except to give me one more laugh at you, and is 
that anything unusual ? — Have you anywhere else to send 
me ? If not, I have a little business at the town cellar ; 
may be your errand lies the same way ! Eh ? 

Da. (angry). No, you scamp. 

An. See there ; he has read everything but the 1 Book 
of Manners.' But think a moment. No errand to the 
bookseller's ? 

Da. No, you scamp. 

An. I hear that " scamp " so often, that I shall end by 
believing myself that it is my own Christian name. To 
the bookbinder's, perhaps ? 



28 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act I. 



Da. Hold your tongue or 

An. Or to the printer's? I know my way to these 
three, Heaven be praised, like the dyer's horse round the 
cylinder. 

Da. Don't you observe, knave, that I am reading? — Do 
you mean to disturb me any longer? 

An. (aside). Hullo! He is really getting angry. 

Steady, Anton But do just tell me what sort of 

book that is you are reading. My stars ! What stuff it is. 
You understand it ? Can any man read such scratchings, 
such fearful zigzags ? If that isn't Faust's hell-charm, at 

the very least oh dear ! Everybody knows how 

it goes with people who will learn everything 

The evil spirit leads them astray at last, and they learn 
witchcraft too. 

Da. (looks good-humoured again). Why good Anton ! 
This is a book written in the Hebrew tongue, by Ben 
Maimon Jadchasacka. 

An. I daresay ! who is going to believe that ? I 
know what Hebrew is, at any rate. Isn't it the same 
thing as the original language, the scriptural speech, the 
holy word? Our parson uttered that more than once 
from the pulpit, when I was still at school. But, goodness, 
he had no books like that. I have peeped into all his 
books ; I once had to help him to shift his quarters from 
one house to another. 

Da. Ha, ha, ha ! That's quite likely. It is wonderful 
enough if a country parson knows as much as the name. 
In fact, between you and me, my dear Anton, clergymen 
in general are poor heroes in the field of learning. 

An. Come, come, that cannot apply to all of them. At 
any rate the M.A. in my native village is among the 
exceptions. Surely ! The schoolmaster himself has told 
me more than once that the parson is a very learned man ; 
and I must believe what the schoolmaster says ; for as 
the parson has often told me, he is no bad schoolmaster ; 
he knows a word or two of Latin, and can give his opinion 
on it. 

Da. That's capital. So the schoolmaster praises the 
parson, and the parson, not wishing to be ungrateful, 
praises the schoolmaster. If my father were here, he 



Scene I.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



20 



would of course say, mnanus manum lavat. Have not you 
noticed his silly habit of lugging in a scrap of Latin 
at every opportunity? The old idiot thinks that as he 
has so learned a son, he too must show that he once went 
through the schools. 

An. Well, I always thought it must be something 
silly ; for he often mutters something in the midst of his 
talk, of which I can't understand a word. 

Da. Don't conclude from that, though, that everything 
you don't understand is silly ; else what a lot of silly 
trash I should know. But, oh, sweet learning, how much 
does a mortal who possesses you owe to you ! And how 
lamentable is it, that only the fewest know you in your 
completeness ! The theologian believes he possesses you 
through a medley of scriptural sentences, frightful nar- 
ratives, and misapplied figures of speech. Those learned 
in the law imagine you are theirs, by reason of their 
unhappy skill in perverting the useless laws of countries 
that have ceased to exist, to the prejudice of justice and 
reason, and in expressing the most frightful decisions in 
a still more frightful language. The physician believes 
that he has really mastered you when by means of a 
legion of barbarous words he can make those who are in 
health ill, and those who are in sickness worse. But, oh 
deluded fools, truth will no longer leave you in these 
errors which reflect disgrace on her. Occasions arise 
when you yourselves recognise how defective your know- 
ledge is ; and then, full of mad arrogance, you measure 
all human knowledge by your own, and even cry aloud, 
in a tone which seems one of pity for all mortals, " Our 
knowledge is fragmentary." No, believe me, my dear 
Anton, man is certainly capable of a knowledge of all 
things. To deny this is to make a confession of one's 
own laziness or of one's mental mediocrity. If I reflect 
how much I know for my few years, I am still more con- 
vinced of this truth. Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, 

Italian, English that makes six languages, of all 

of which I am a master ; and I am only twenty years old. 

An. Soft ! You have forgotten one — German. 

Da. True, my dear Anton. Then that makes seven 
languages, and I am only twenty years old. 



30 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act I. 



An. Hem ! You are making fun either of me or of 
yourself. What? You are not going to reckon your 
knowledge of German as learning ? I didn't mean what 
I said seriously. 

Da. And so you think that you yourself know German. 

An. I not know German? It would be the deuce's 
own joke, if I spoke the language of the Calmucks without 
knowing it. 

Da. There is knowledge and knowledge. You know 
German ; that is, you know how to express your thoughts 
by sounds which a German can understand, that is, which 
arouse in him the thoughts which you have in your mind. 
But you do not know German ; that is, you do not know 
which words of this language are vulgar or low, which 
are coarse and which graceful, which express nothing and 
which something, which are obsolete and which in actual 
use ; you don't know its rules ; you have no scholarly 
knowledge of it. 

An. What is there that a learned man can't teach us ! 
If it only depended on your " that is," I do believe that 
you would go so far as to dispute my being able to eat. 

Da. Eat ? Now in very truth, if I choose to be accu- 
rate, you can't do that either. 

An. I can't eat, can't I ? Nor drink, I suppose ? 

Da. You can eat ; that is, you can cut up your food, 
put it in your mouth, chew it, swallow it, and so forth. 
You cannot eat ; that is, you do not know the mechanical 
laws in accordance with which the process of eating goes 
on ; you do not know what is the function of each muscle 
in this operation. You know not whether the digastricus 
or the masseter, whether the internal or the external 
pterygoideus, whether the zygomaticus or the platysma- 
myodes, whether 

An. Oh dear! Whether, whether ! The only " whether " 
I pay attention to, is whether my stomach gets any food, 
and whether it agrees with me. But to return to the 
languages ; would you think, now, that I understand one 
which you don't ? 

Da. You understand a language which I don't ? 

An. Yes, think a bit. 

Da. Perhaps you know Coptic? 



Scene II.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



31 



An. Coptic ? No, that I don't. 

Da. Chinese ? Malabar ? Tho ttgh I do not know how 
you should. 

An. How you beat about the bush. Did not you see 
my cousin ? He visited me a fortnight ago. He spoke 
nothing but this language. 

Da. The Eabbi who came to me a short while ago was 
surely not your cousin ? 

An. I am not exactly a Jew, am I ? My cousin is a 
Wend ; I know Wendish, and you don't. 

Da. (reflectively). He is right. That my servant should 
understand a language, which I cannot understand ! And 
that language too one which is not a mere dialect. As 
I remember, it must be closely allied to Hebrew. Who 
knows how many roots which are lost in the one I may 
discover in the other! The thing begins to run in my 
mind. 

An. There, now ! But do you know what ? Double 
my wages and you shall soon understand as much of it as 
I do myself. We will be industrious and talk Wendish 

together, and in short, think it over. I am 

forgetting my errand to the town-cellar altogether, over 
this confounded palaver. I will be back and at your 
.service again soon. 

Da. Stay here now ; stay here. 

An. But here's your father coming. Don't you hear ? 
We could not talk longer, anyhow. (Exit.) 

Da. I wish my father would leave me undisturbed. 
Does he think I am such an idler as himself? 

Scene II. — Damis, Chrysander. 

Chrys. Always over those confounded books ! My 
son, one may have too much of a good thing. Amusement 
is as necessary as work. 

Da. My father, study is amusement enough for me. 
He who seeks for other pleasures than knowledge, cannot 
have tasted its true sweetness. 

Chrys. Don't say that ! I also studied in my youth. 
I penetrated to the very marrow of learning. But as for 
being always engaged over my books — by no means. I 



32 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act I. 



went out, I played, I went into society, I made friends 
with the girls. "What the father did in his youth, the 
son can also do, and ought to do. A hove majori disced 
arare minor, as we Latin scholars say. Especially let 
me recommend the girls to you, de meliori, as we Latin 
scholars say. Those fellows are fools who warn a young 
man ofi from the girls as if they were worse than scorpions ; 
who bid him to avoid them, as we Latin scholars say, 

cautius sanguine mperino 

Da. Cautius sanguine viperino f Ay, that's Latin ; but 
how runs the whole passage ? 

Cautius timet flavum Tiberim tangere ? cur olivum 

Sanguine viperino 
Cautius vitat ? 

Oh, I understand quite well, father. You have not gone 
to the fountain-head ! If you had you would have known 
that, in this very Ode, Horace describes love as a very 
injurious passion, and woman as 

Ohrys. Horace ? Horace ? Horace was an Italian, and 
meant Italian women. Yes ! I too warn you against 
those girls of Italy. They are dangerous. I have a good 

friend who in his youth But no, one must not 

scandalize people German girls, on the other hand, 

German girls ! It is quite another thing to have to do 
with them. I should not be the man I am if the society 
of women had not given me a thorough polish. I should 
think one could see that in me. You have read enough 
in dead books, dip for once into a living one. 

Da. I am astonished. 

Chrys. Ah, you will be yet more astonished when you 
see a little deeper. Woman, you must know, is a new 
world for a young man, where he finds so much to stare 
and wonder at 

Da. Yet listen to me ! I am astonished, I repeat, to 
hear you talk in a way which by no means expresses the 
same precepts which you gave me when I went to the 
high school. 

Chrys. Quce. qualis, quanta ! Now, and then ! Tempora 
mutantur, as we Latin scholars say. 

Da. Tempora mutantur ! Do pray lay aside such vulgar 



SOENE II.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



33 



prejudices. The times do not alter : for lei us just con- 
sider ; what is time ? 

Chrys. Ho id your tongue ! Time is a thing that I am 
not going to let you waste with your useless chatter. 
The precepts I gave you at that time were suited to the 
measure of experience and intelligence you had then. 
But now I trust you have so much of both that you will 
not make a business of your pleasure. On these grounds, 
then, I advise you 

Da. Your words have a certain semblance of truth ; 
but I go deeper. You shall see directly, the status con- 
troversion 

Chrys. Oh, the State of Controversia may lie in 
Barbara or in Celarent for aught I care. I didn't come 
here to disputs with you, but 

Da. But to learn the terms used in the art of disputa- 
tion ! Good. Then you must know that neither Barbara 
nor Celarent have 

Chrys. I shall go mad! Be off with your pack of 
nonsense, Mr. Pedant, or 

Da. Nonsense ! These odd terms are, it is true, relics 
of the scholastic philosophy ; but nevertheless such 
relics 

Chrys. Over which I shall lose all patience, if you 
don't listen to me at once. I come to you to discuss the 

most serious matter in the world for what is more 

serious than marriage ? .... and you 

Da. Marriage ? Speak of marriage to me ? To me ? 

Chrys. Ha, ha! Does that make you attentive? 
Well, then, ausculta et perpende ! 

Da. Ausculta et perpende? Ausculta et perpende f A 
happy idea 

Chrys. Oh, I have ideas 

Da. Which I have here got hold of. 

Chrys. You ? 

Da. Yes ; I. Do you know where this ausculta et 
perpende comes from? I have just lighted on the dis- 
covery that it is from Homer. Ah ! What is there I 
can't fij id in my Homer ? 

Chtu?. You and your Homer are a pair of fools. 

Da. I and Homer ? Homer and I ? We two ? Ha. 

vol. Ji. D 



34 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act L 



ha, ha. By all means, father. Thank you, thank you. 

I and Homer; Homer and I But listen : AVhenever 

Homer he was in truth no fool — as little of that 

as I myself. .... whenever, I say, he makes his heroes 
rouse their men to valour, or begin a discussion in a 
council of war, the commencement of their speech is, 
*' Listen to what I utter and think thereon I" For 
instance, in the Odyssey 

KckAutc Srj vvv ixkv y 'WaKrjaLoi, o tl kzv earo) 

And then there often follows 

"Cls e<£a#.' ol 8' apa rov fxd\a fxkv kXvov, r)£ IttiOovto. 

That is : Thus spake he, and they obeyed the words 
which they had heard. 

Chrys. Oh ! they obeyed him, did they ? Well, there 
is some sense in that. Perhaps Homer is no fool after all. 
Look to it that I may be able to make a recantation 
concerning you too. So now again to business : I am 
aware, my son 

Da. Patience for one instant, father. I am just going 
to sit down and make a note of this remark. 

Chrys. Make a note ? What is there to make a note 
of in this ? To whom does it matter whether this scrap 
is out of Homer or out of a hymn-book. 

Da. It matters to the learned world ; my honour and 
Homer's is concerned in it ! For fifty such remarks are 
the making of a philologist. And this one is new, I must 
tell you, quite new. 

Chrys. Well then, write it down another time. 

Da. But suppose I forget it ? I should be inconsolable. 
Please have the goodness at least to remind me of it 
again. 

Chrys. Well, well, I will do so ; only do now listen to 
me. I am, my son, acquainted with a most amiable girl ; 
and I am aware that you too know her. Should you feel 
desirous 

Da. I acquainted with a girl, an amiable girl ? Oh, 
father ! If any one heard that, what would they think of 
my scholarship ? . . . I know an amiable girl ? 

Chrys. Now, upon my word, I don't think any inn- 



Scene II.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



35 



keeper would be as alarmed when charged with knowing 
such and such a scamp, as you are because you are said to 
be acquainted with a girl. Is that, then, a reproach ? 

Da. At any rate, it is no honour, and least of all for a 
scholar. Every one acquires by degrees the habits of those 
with whom he associates. Every woman is frivolous, 
proud, loquacious, quarrelsome and childish all her life 
long, let her grow as old as she may. Hardly a single 
woman knows that she has a soul about which she ought 
to be infinitely more concerned than about her body. To 
dress, undress, and dress themselves anew, to sit before 
a mirror, admire their own charms, and devise affected 
airs ; to remain idle at the window with inquisitive eyes, 
read senseless novels, and, at best, take a needle in 
hand to pass away the time. That is their employment ; 
that is their life. And do you think that a student 
could know anything more' of such a silly race of 
creatures than their outward form, without injury to his 
reputation ? 

Chrys. Good Heavens, man ! Your mother will turn 
in her grave. Just remember she was once a girl. 
Reflect that things cannot be otherwise than nature has 
made them ! Besides, as we Latin scholars often say, 
nulla regula sine exceptione. And the girl of whom I am 
thinking, and whom you know, is certainly an exception. 

Da. No, no, I will swear it. Our cousins excepted, 
and Juliane 

Chrys. And Juliane? Bene! 

Da. And her maid excepted, I don't know a single bit 
of womankind. Yes, may Heaven punish me if I ever 
allow the ideas of becoming acquainted with any more to 
enter my head ! 

Chrys. Well, well! As you please. Enough, you 
know Juliane. 

Da. More's the pity. 

Chrys. And it is just Juliane concerning whom I want 
to know your thoughts. 

Da. Juliane ? What I think of Juliane ? father, 
if you inquired what I thought about Erinna, Corinna, 
Telesilla, or Praxilla 

Ch^ys. Good gracious ! A moment ago he swore he 

D 2 



36 



lessixg's dramatic works. 



[Act I 



didn't know a single girl, and now mentions half-a-dozen 

wenches * 

Da. What, father? 

Chrys. Yes, my son ! You do not recognise that termi- 
nation I suppose ? Netrix, Lotrix, Meretrix 

Da. Good Heavens ! To allude to famous Greek 
poetesses by such a term. 

Chrys. Aye, aye. Poetesses, quite so quite so. Lotrix, 
Meretrix, Poetrix 

Da. Poetrix ? Oh, my poor ears ! You must say, 
poelria, or poetris. 

Chrys. Is or Ix, as you please, Mr. Lexicon. 

Scene III. — Chrysander, Damis, Lisette. 

Lis. Quick, Mr. Chrysander, down to the parlour. 
Some one wants to speak to you. 

Chrys. Now who can the fool be who must needs 
come to disturb me at this very moment. Who is it ? 

Lis. How should I know every fool ? 

Chrys. What's that ? You have an unlucky tongue, 
Lisette, to call an honest gentleman a fool. For he surely 
is an honest gentleman. How else should he want me ? 

Lis. Come, come, you will surely pardon my tongue 
the fault that yours committed. 

Chrys. Which mine committed ? 

Lis. Oh, do go. The honest gentleman is waiting. 

Chrys. Let him wait. I didn't tell the fool to come. 
I shall return directly, my son. (Exit.) 

Lis. (aside). I must see whether I can make anything 
out of my young mistress's odd fancy. 

Scene IV. — Lisette, Damis. 

Da. Now, then ! Is not Lisette going as well? 

Lis. Your most obedient servant. If you give orders 
I shall obey them. But at least tell me first how, in 
Heaven's name, you can exist in such continual solitude ? 



* There are two plural forms of the word Mensch, namely, Menschew 
and Menscher. The latter, which is the word in this passage, is used 
only of a woman of doubtful reputation.— Ed. 



Scene IV.] 



THE YOUNG S DIIOLAR. 



.",7 



What do you do all day in your study? Don't your 
moments turn to hours ? 

Da. Oh ! Of what use are such questions ? Off with 
you! Off! 

Lis. Surely you can't be at your books the whole time. 
Books ! such dead companions ! No ; I am for the living, 
and Mamselle Juliane's taste is the same. Of course we 
read now and then ; about a knight errant, or a Banise,* 
or something good of that sort. But we never stand it 
for more than an hour at a time. To continue at it for 
whole days, as you do — Heaven help us ! We should be 
dead by the third day. And then, what's worst of all, not 
to speak a word the whole time ; that would be a purga- 
tory to us. It cannot be a superiority belonging to the 
whole of your sex, for I know men-folk who are just as 
fickle as we are, or even more so. It can only be a few 
mighty souls who possess these peculiar gifts. 

Da. Lisette does not speak altogether foolishly. It is a 
pity that so good a mother-wit should not be improved by 
learning. 

Lis. You make me blush. I could almost pay you for 
that, and recount to you the succession of panegyrics 
which were made on you by the people at the garden- 
party yesterday. But I won't offend your modesty. I 
know scholars set only too much store by this virtue. 

Da. Panegyrics on me ? 

Lis. Yes, yes, on you. 

Da. Pray do not trouble yourself about me, my dear 
Lisette I will treat the praise as belonging to another, 
and thus my modesty will be at peace. Come, tell me 
about it. I only want to hear it on account of your lively 
and artless way of expressing yourself. 

Lis. Oh my way is surely none of the best. I had no 
teacher such as you. But I will do your bidding. You 
know, I suppose, who the gentlemen were who were enter- 
tained in the garden yesterday by your father. 

Da. No, that I don't. As I had no desire to be present 



* Princess Banise was the heroine of a famous novel written at the 
end of tlie eighteenth century, entitled, Asiatische Banise oder blutiges, 
jedoch muthiges Pegu. — Ed. 



38 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act I. 

at the party, I did not trouble myself at all about it. It 
is to be hoped they were themselves worthy of praise, in 
order that one may have some ground for being proud of 
their praise. 

Lis. They are tolerably worthy people. But how would 
it affect you if they were not ? You mean, you know, from 
modesty, to treat the praise of yourself as applying to 
somebody else. And does the truth depend on the lips 
which utter it ? Listen now 

Da. Heavens ! I hear my father returning. For good- 
ness' sake, dear Lisette, don't let him see how long you 
have stayed with me. Go quickly for a moment into the 
cabinet there. 

Scene Y. — Damis, Chrysander. 

Chrys. That confounded Valer ! He couldn't have 
come at a more inopportune time. Why the devil should 
he come back from Berlin just to-day? And why should 

he at once announce himself to me ? Ah ! in order 

No, Herr Valer, you are too late for that. Now, my son 

(Damis stands abstracted as if in deep thought). Do 

you hear, my son ? 

Da. I hear ; I hear everything. 

Chrys. Briefly, you comprehend, I suppose, what I 
meant just now. To a wise man three words are enough. 
Sapienti sat, we Latin scholars say. Answer, if you please. 

Da. (still as if in thought). What am I to answer? 

Chrys. What is there to answer ? I'll tell you. Answer 
that you have understood me ; that you are pleased with 
my offer ; that you like Juliane ; that you will obey me in 
all things Now, will you answer this ? 

Da. I will see at once. (In feigned absence of mind he 
takes up a book.) 

Chrys. What can the book contain on these points ? 

Answer from your heart and not from a book 

Ex libro doctus quilibet esse potest, as we Latin 

scholars say. 

Da. (as if reading in the book). Perfectly right. But 
what further? 

Chrys. The rest follows like Greek. You say " yes," 



Scene V.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



GO 



she says " yes." Then comes betrothal, and soon after, 
marriage ; and then you'll soon see what then. 

Da. But suppose this supposition (Still as if reading.) 

Chrys. Oh, I never suppose anything which is in the 
least degree doubf ful. Juliane is a ward ; I am her 
guardian ; I am your father ; what can suit me better 
than to make you two happy ? Her father was my friend, 
and a good fellow, though a fool. He might have made a 
fair bankruptcy ; his creditors would have been brought 
to accept an agreement to take a third of their money, 
and he was simple enough to pay all, down to the last 
farthing. But what am I thinking of? You knew him, 
didn't you ? 

Da. Not personally. But the circumstances of his life 
are perfectly familiar to me. I have read it in some bio- 
graphy or other. 

Chrys. Eeadit? Bead it in print ? 

Da. Yes, yes. Eead it. He was born about the middle 
of last century, and died about twenty years ago, as 
Superintendent-general* in Pomerania. Oriental languages 
were his strong point. But all his books are not equally 
good. This is one of the best. The man is said to have 
had a singular habit of ■ 

Chrys. Who are you talking of? 

Da. Didn't you ask me whether I had known the author 
of this book. 

Chrys. I think you are dreaming ; or else there is 
something gone wrong with your brains. I asked you 
whether you had known Juliane' s father. 

Da. Pardon me, if I answered a little absently. I was 
thinking why the Eabbis call the Schurek M'lo " Pum." 

Chrys. Oh, damn your Schurek ! Now, just attend 
to what your father is saying to you .... (takes the book 
out of his hand). You did not know him, then? Now 
I come to think of it, it is hardly possible you should 
have known him. Juliane was still very young when he 
died. Immediately on his death I took her into my house, 
and — thank Heaven! — she has received much kindness 
here. She is fair and virtuous. To whom should I give 



* A high office in the Lutheran Church. 



40 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act L 



her in preference to you ? What do you think ? Answer. 
You stand there as if you were asleep. 

Da. Yes, father. There is only one point to consider ■ 

Chrys. You are right ; there certainly is one to con- 
sider ; namely, whether you feel yoifrself competent to 
accept a public post, because, though 

Da. What ? competent ? . . . . You doubt my ability 
then ? How unlucky that I can't at once give you most 
unquestionable proof of it. However, it must come this 
evening ; believe me, this very evening. That confounded 
post ! I can't imagine where it is loitering. 

Chrys. Calm yourself, my son. The question is not 
put through any mistrust of you, but merely because I 
believe that it does not do for a man to marry before he 
has an appointment ; just as there is no need, to my mind, 
for a man to take a post until he knows where to provide 
himself with a wife. 

Da. Oh ! confound marriage ! Confound the wife ! 
Will you excuse my leaving you alone ? 1 must send that 
fellow to the post at once. Anton ! Anton ! It is quite 
impossible to do anything with the rascal ; I must just 
go myself. 

Scene YI. — Anton, Chrysander. 

An. Did not Herr Damis call me? Wliere is he? 
What am I to do ? 

Chrys. I don't know what he has in his head. He 
calls you — means to send you to the post — bethinks himself 
that it is impossible to do anything with a rascal like you, 
and goes himself. Now tell me, do you want to remain an 
ass all your life ? 

An. Gently, Herr Chrysander ! I have no part in 
your son's folly. I have been obliged to go to the post for 
him more than a dozen times to-day. He expects letters 
from Berlin. Is it my fault that they don't come ? 

Chrys. By all that's wonderful ! But you have been 
with him some time now ; you ought to know his character 
and way of thinking a little, eh ? 

An. Ha, ha ! That depends on what we scholars call 
knowledge of character ! In that art I am a master, upon 



Scene VI.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



41 



my honour ! I only have to speak a word with a man. I 
only have to look at him, and, presto ! I know the whole 
man ! I know at once whether he is reasonable or capri- 
cious, liberal or niggardly 

Chrys. I do believe you are pointing to me ! 

An. Oh, never mind about my hands ! . . . . Whether 
he's 

Chrys. You shall show your skill at once. I have 
proposed a marriage to my son ; now, just say, if you 
know him, what he will do. 

An. Your son ? Herr Damis ? Excuse me, with him 
my art, otherwise so successful, goes begging. 

Chrys. Go you with it, you rascal, and don't boast. 

An. It is quite impossible to know the humour of a 
young scholar, or to draw any inference from it. , And 
tha*t which is impossible, Herr Chrysander .... is 
impossible. 

Chrys. And how so? 

An. Because he has none. 

Chrys. None ? 

An. No, not none, but a fresh one every moment. The 
books and examples he meets with are the winds by 
which the weathercock of his thoughts is ruled. To keep 
to the question of marriage, since that is at present before 

us, I fancy that In the first place you must know 

that Herr Damis has never concealed anything from 
me. I have always been his confidant, and have always 
been the man whom he preferred to have to do with. 
We have held discussions together at the university, for 
whole days, whole nights. And I fancy he must find 
something in me, some quality, which he finds in no 
one else 

Chrys. I'll tell you what quality it is — your stupidity ! 
It pleases him when he sees that he knows more than you. 
If you are a rascal, and do not contradict him, and 
praise him to his face, and admire him 

An. Come, confound it ! There you are betraying the 
whole of my policy ! How cunning an old merchant is. 

Chrys. But we mustn't forget our principal object. 
About marriage 

An. Why, on that matter he has the deuce's own 



42 



lessing's dramatic works. 



.Act I. 



whims in his head. For instance; I remember a time 
when he wouldn't have married at all. 

Chrys. Not at all? Then I must marry again. You 
don't think I will let my name die out ? The scoundrel. 
But why ? 

An. For this reason ; because there have been learned 
men who held celibacy was most fitting for a scholar. 
God knows whether these gentlemen were too spiritual or 
too fleshly in their disposition ! In his capacity of old 
bachelor that is to be, he had already provided himself 
with various ingenious excuses. 

Chrys. Excuses ! Can such a profligate, who holds 
this sacred sacrament — for I must say in passing, I am 
by no means pleased with our theologians who will not 
allow marriage to be a sacrament — he, I say, who 
despises this holy sacrament, can he venture to excuse his 
godlessness ? But I believe you are fooling me, fellow ; for 
only a moment ago he seemed to approve of my proposal. 

An. The devil must have had a finger in it then. How 
did he behave ? Tell me, did he stand there as if he had 
been stunned ? Did he look fixedly on the ground ? Did 
he put his hand to his head? Did he reach towards a 
book, as if he would read it ? Did he let you go on talk- 
ing without interruption ? 

Chrys. You have hit it! You depict him as if you 
had seen him. 

An. Oh, then there is little hope ! When he goes on 
in that way he means you to consider him abstracted. I 
know his ways. He hears all you say to him, but you 
are to believe that through the intensity of his reflection 
he has not heard it. He sometimes answers too, but 
when you place his reply before him again he will never 
admit that it was given in answer to that which you 
wanted to know from him. 

Chrys. Now, whoever after that won't admit that too 
much learning confuses the brain deserves to be learned 
himself. Heaven be praised that I knew how to hit the 
happy mean in my youth ! Omne nimium vertitur in vitulum, 
as we Latin scholars jocosely say. But may God be 
gracious to the scamp if he remains obstinate in his reso- 
lution ! If he affirms that it is not necessary to marry 



Scene VI.] THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



43 



and beget children, doesn't he give me to understand that 
I need not have begotten him ? The thankless son ! 

An. True ; there can be no greater ingratitude under tho 
sun than when a son will not show recognition of tl ie pains 
his father must have taken to bring him into the world. 

Chrys. No. Certainly the holy estate of matrimony 
shall find its defender in me. 

An. Your intention is good ; but many such defenders 
as you would reduce the custom returns on eatables con- 
siderably. 

Chrys. How so ? 

An. Think. Three wives and scarcely a son by the 
third. 

Chrys. Scarcely ! "What do you mean with your 
" scarcely," you scoundrel. 

An. Whew ; you understand something worse than I 
meant by that. 

Chrys. But between ourselves, Anton ; if the women 
of twenty years back had been like the women of the 
present time, I should give way to strange thoughts. He 
is far too little like me ! Yet the women of twenty years 
ago were not so daring as now, not so faithless as in these 
days, nor yet so 

An. Are you sure of that ? In truth, then, they did 
great wrong to my mother, from whom her husband, 
who declined to be my father, was separated three and 
thirty years ago. But that's a matter I don't like to think 
of. The whims of your son are more amusing. 

Chrys. Say, more vexatious. But tell me what were 
his excuses ? 

An. His excuses were fancies which did not grow in 
his own brain. He said, for instance, that as long as he 
was under forty, when any one asked why he didn't marry 
he should answer that he was too young ; but when he 
was over forty he would reply he was too old. I don't 
know the name of the sage who is supposed to have said 
the same thing. Another pretext was this : he wouldn't 
marry because he was think ug every day of turning 
monk, and didn't turn monk because every day he was 
thinking of marrying. 

Chrys. What ! He'll turn monk, too, will he ? There 



44 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act I. 



one may see what a bad character, with no reverence -for 
the holy state of matrimony, may come to. I nevei 
thought to find this in my own son. 

Ax. Don't be alarmed. In your son everything is 
merely transitory. He had read the notion in the bio- 
graphy of a sage ; he took a fancy to it, and at once resolved 
to produce it as his own when occasion offered. But the 
whim was soon expelled by another, just as — just as 

What a pity I can't hit on anything like it ! In 

short, out it went. Now he would marry, and marry a 
perfect devil of a wife. 

Chrys. If only more fools w r ould adopt this fancy, that 
good fellows might remain free from bad wives. 

Ax. Yes, thought he, it would sound well if it were 
said of him that the famous Damis is among the number 
of the learned whom Heaven has plagued with bad wives, 
but still the learned world cannot complain of him for 
being in the least prevented, by his domestic crosses, from 
supplying them with countless learned writings. 

Chrys. Writings ! Yes, which cost me huge sums. 
What bills I have had to pay for him at the printer's ! 
The rascal ! 

Ax. Patience ! He has only just begun to write. 
Things will be better soon. 

Chrys. Better? Perhaps people will count him among 
those who have written his father out of house and home. 

Ax. Why not ? If it brings him honour 

Chrys. Honour be damned. 

Ax. For that a young scholar will do everything. If 
after his death it should be said that the famous Damis 
was among the sages who went to the deuce ! What's 
the odds ? It is enough that he is called learned and 
famous. 

Chrys. Fellow, you alarm me. But you who are much 
older than he is, can't you give him good advice now and 
then? 

Ax. Oh ! Herr Chrysander, you know very well that I 
receive no salary as tutor. And then my stupidity 

Chrys. Which you assume in order to make him still 
more stupid. 

Ax. (aside). Ah, he knows me. (aloud) But do you suppose 



Scene VI.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



45 



he was in earnest about the ill-tempered wife ? Not in 
the least. An hour afterwards he was going to choose a 
learned woman. 

Chrys. Well, that would, at any rate, be sensible at 
last. 

An. Sensible ? In my humble opinion it was the very 
stupidest idea he could have adopted. A learned wife! 
Just think. A wife resembling your son. An honest 
fellow would be seized by fear and horror at such an idea. 
Heavens ! before I allowed a learned woman to be tied on to 
me 

Chrys. Fool, fool ! They go off like anything amongst 
better people than you. If there were more of them, who 
knows whether I might not choose one for myself? 

An. Do you know Carlin ? 

Chrys. Carlin? No. 

An. My former comrade ; my good friend ? You don't 
know him ? 
Chrys. No. 

An. He wore a light grey coat with red facings, and 
red and blue shoulder-knots on his Sunday uniform. You 
must have seen him with me. He had rather a long nose. 
It was a family mark. For he would fain show from 
history that his great-great-grandfather, who was present 
vt a certain tournament as a groom, had one just as long. 
His one defect was that his legs were a little crooked. 
Do you remember him now ? 

Chrys. How should I know all the rabble that you 
know ? But what about him ? 

An. You really don't know him ? Ah ! then you know 
one great soul the less. I will enable you to make his 
acquaintance ; I am well esteemed by him. 

Chrys. I believe you are sometimes as mad as my son. 
However do you come on this nonsense ? 

An. Well, this Carlin, I was going to say — Oh, it is 
vexatious that you do not know him — this Carlin, I say, 
once served a gentleman who had a learned wife. The 
confounded scamp ! He was good-looking, and so, as 

desire is not ruled by regard to rank In short, he 

must have got to know her better. Where otherwise 
should he have got so much sense? At last her husband 



40 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act I. 



too observed that our friend was learning from the lady ; 
he got his dismissal before he expected it. Poor lady ! 

Chrys. Silence. I won't listen either to your whims 
or to my son's any more. 

An. Listen to one more — his pet whim ; he wanted to 
marry more than one wife. 

Chrys. But one after the other. 

An. No, at least half-a-dozen at a time. The Bible, 
authority, and custom notwithstanding. He was just 
reading a book then 

Chrys. Ah, those infernal books ! I'll hear no more ; 
and there's an end of it. He won't want to take more 
than one, provided only he takes the one whom I mean 
for him. And what do you think, Anton ? — quid putas f — 
as we say. Will he do it ? 

An. Perhaps, and perhaps not. If I knew what book 
he had read last, and could read it myself, and if 

Chrys. I see I shall be obliged to use your help. You 
are a swindler, it's true, but I am aware that one may do 
more nowadays with cheats than with honest people. 

An. Ay, Herr Chrysander, what do you take me for ? 

Chrys. No compliments, Herr Anton. I promise you 
a reward suitable to your service, if you can persuade my 
son to marry Juliane, quovis modo, as we Latin scholars 
say, by telling truths or lies, by honest practices or crooked 
ways, vel sic vel aliter, as we Latin scholars say. 

An. Whom? Juliane? 

Chrys. Juliane ; Mam ijpsam. 

An. Our Juliane ? Your ward, your foster-daughter ? 

Chrys. Do you know of any other ? 

An. This is impossible, or what I have heard of her 
cannot be true. 

Chrys. Heard ! You have heard something about her 
then. Surely nothing bad ? 

An. Certainly nothing good. 

Chrys. Well ! I held the girl in high esteem. Surely 
no youngster has Eh ? 

An. If it were no more than that .... fashion ex- 
cuses such slight mistakes as that. But it is something 
much worse for a good maiden who does not want to be a 
maiden any longer. 



Scene VI.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



47 



Chrys. Something worse ? I don't understand you. 

An. And yet you are a business man. 

Chrys. Worse? I always thought that reserve and 
good principles were the chief 

An. No longer, no longer ; they were so twenty years 
ago, as you so wisely remembered just now. 

Chrys. Explain yourself more clearly ; I have no 
desire to guess at your silly thoughts. 

An. Nothing is easier, however. In a word, she is said 
to have no money. People say that out of consideration for 
her father, who was a good friend of yours, you adopted 
Juliane from her ninth year, and brought her up out of 
charity. 

Chrys. In saying that people told you no lie ; but all 
the same, no other but my son shall have her, proyided 
only that he ... . look here, Anton, I must make the 
whole riddle plain to you. It lies only with me to make 
Juliane rich in a short time. 

An. Yes, with your own money, and you might make 
me rich in the same manner ; will you be so good ? 

Chrys. No, not with my own money. Can you hold 
your tongue ? 

An. Try it. 

Chrys. Listen then. This is how it stands with Juliane's 
property. Her father lost all his money, through a 
lawsuit which at last he had to abandon, a short time 
before his death. Now, a certain document has fallen into 
my hands for which he long sought in vain, and which 
puts the whole business in another light. It is only neces- 
sary for me to give enough money to recommence the law- 
suit. The document itself I have already sent to my 
lawyer at Dresden. 

An. Heaven be praised that you are a business man 
again. Just now I hardly knew what to make of you. 
But have you Juliane's consent already? 

Chrys. Oh, the good child will, as she says, obey me in 
all things. Until now Valer reckoned upon winning her. 
A little while ago, he even opened his heart to me. Before 
I found the document 

An. Of course, Juliane was not of so much importance 
to us then ; so you gave him encouragement ? 



43 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



Chrys. Certainly. He has come back from Berlin to- 
day, and has been to call on me already. I fear, I fear 

But if only my son will .... and he, Anton, 

you know .... A fool may be caught on many sides, and 
a man like you can catch on many sides. You shall see 
that I am grateful. 

An. And you shall see that I am entirely at your 
service, especially if gratitude first rouses me, and 

Scene VII. — Anton, Chrysander, Juliane. 

Ju. Come, Herr Chrysander, do come down at once. 
Herr Valer is there to wait upon you. 

Chrys. You seem very happy about it, young miss. 

An. ( whispers to Chrysander). Ah ! Valer has caught 
the bird already. 

Chrys. That would be rather serious. 

(Exeunt Anton and Chrysander). 

Scene VIII. — Juliane, Lisette. 

Lis. (peeps out of the cabinet). Hist, hist ! 

Ju. Well, for whom is that meant? Lisette, is that 
you ? What are you doing here ? 

Lis. Yes, you will never believe that I and Damis have 
gone so far that he has to conceal me. I can twist him 
round my finger already. One more interview like the 
last, and I have bagged him. 

Ju. And so, although in joke, I had a very good idea 
after all. Would to Heaven that the union which his 
father 

Lis. His father ! the rascal, the miser ! I have just 
learnt what he is. 

Ju. What names you call him ! His goodness is only 
too great. In order to make his good actions complete 
he offers me' his son's hand, and with it all his property. 
But how unhappy am I in this. Gratitude and love, love 
for Valer, and gratitude 

Lis. A minute ago I was under just the same delusion. 
But, believe me, I have it now from his own lips; 
not from friendship for you, but from friendship to your 
property he wishes to bring about this union. 



Scene I.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



49 



Ju. My property ? You are mad. What have I that 
I did not get from him ? 

Lis. Come, come. This is not the place for talking. 
I will tell you all that I have heard another time. 



ACT II. 

Scene I. — Lisette, Valer, Juliane. 

Lis. (within). Come in here ; Daniis has gone out. You 
can have a word with one another in private here. 

Ju. Yes, Valer ; my resolution is taken. I owe him 
too much ; by his kindness he has obtained the greatest 
right over me. Cost what it may, I must consent to this 
marriage, since Chrysander desires it. Or shall I sacrifice 
gratitude to love ? You are yourself virtuous, Valer, and 
in your society I have learnt to think more nobly. To 
show myself worthy of you I must do my duty even at 
the loss of my happiness. 
' Lis. A marvellous moral, truly ! 

Va. Then what becomes of your promise, your vow, 
and your constancy ? Is it right to act contrary to a 
duty which really unites us, in order to fulfil an imagi- 
nary one ? 

Ju. Oh ! Valer, you know better what belongs to such 
promises. Do not abuse my weakness. My father's ap- 
probation was not given to that promise. 

Va. What father? 

Ju. The one to whom I am bound to give that title on 
account of his kindness. Do you consider it no benefit to 
be rescued from poverty and all its attendant miseries? 
Ah ! Valer, I should not now possess your heart had not 
Chrysander's care caused me to be brought up in virtue 
and honour. 

Va. Benefits cease to be benefits if one seeks to be 
repaid for them. And what else is Chrysander doing than 
this, my over-conscientious Juliane, seeing that he only 
wants to marry you to his son because he sees his way to 
recovering for himself the greater part >f your patrimony ? 

vol. u. E 



50 



lessixg's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



Ju. Do not rely on such a strange report as this. Who 
knows what Lisette has heard ? 

Lis. Nothing but what fits in perfectly with the rest 
of his conduct. A man who has already trumpeted his 
good deeds abroad, who can count them on his fingers to 
any one, looks for something more than the mere reward 
of Heaven. And are these, then, the first tears you have 
shed through vexation at being dependent on such a 
selfishly liberal man ? 

Va. Lisette is right ! . . . . But, alas, I feel it. Juliane 
no longer loves me. 

Ju. She loves you no longer ? This suspicion'only was 
wanting to make her grief complete. If you knew how 
much it cost her to remain deaf to the promptings of love • 
if you knew, Valer oh, how mistrustful men are ! 

Va. Do not misinterpret the fear of a lover whose 
whole happiness is at stake. So you do love me stilL, 
and yet you will give yourself to another ? 

Ju. Will? Could you torture me more cruelly? — "I 
will?" say, rather, " I must." 

Va. You must ! Never yet has a heart but the one 
that wished it been compelled to allege necessity as its 
excuse 

Ju. Your reproaches are so bitter, so bitter, that for 
vexation I shall leave you. 

Va. Stay, Juliane, and say at least what I am to do in 
this matter. 

Ju. As I do, submit to fate. 

Va. Ah, leave innocent fate out of the question. 

Ju. Innocent ? You mean it is I that am to blame ? 
Detain me no longer. 

Lis. If I don't soon interfere, they will be quarrelling 

through sheer love What you are to do, Herr 

Valer ? • A mighty question ! Why, move Heaven and 
earth so that this good young lady " need not" ! Bring 
the father to other thoughts ; and get the son over to your 

side The son is easy enough to manage ; leave 

him to me. Poor dear Damis. I am without doubt the 
first girl to flatter him, and I hope therefore to be the 
first to be flattered by him. In good sooth, he is so vain, 
and I am so skilful that I would soon flatter him eveu 



ScenI II.] THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



51 



into making me his wife were it not for his confounded 
father ! See now, Herr Valer, this is mistress Juliane's 
idea ! Now do you invent some snare for the father. 

Ju. What's that you say, Lisette? My idea? Oh 
Valer, don't believe such nonsense ! Did I tell you to do 
anything more than to give him a bad opinion of me ? 

Lis. Exactly so, a bad opinion of you, and if possible 
a proportionally better one of myself. 

Ju. There is no bearing with you — — 

Va. But, dearest Juliane, say, at all events 

Ju. Say what? Perhaps that I will rush into your 
arms, even though I should sin against all virtue in so 
doing ! That I will strive to become yours with an eager- 
ness, with a zeal, which must some day necessarily make 
me contemptible in your eyes ? No, Valer 

Lis. Don't you hear, that she would rather leave us 
free to act ! She is like the lovely Aspasia — or what- 
ever the princess's name was in that thick novel. Two 
knights laid claim to her. "Fight with one another" 
said the lovely Aspasia ; "he who overcomes the other 
shall have me." Nevertheless she favoured the knight in 
the blue armour more than the other 

Ju. Oh, the silly girl — bother her blue knight ! 
{Breaks away and runs ojf.) 

Scene II. — Lisette, Valer. 

Lis. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Va. It is no joke to me, Lisette. 

Lis. Not ? Ha, ha, ha ! 

Va. I believe you are laughing at me. 

Lis. Oh, laugh with me, then, or I shall have to laugh 
again because you won't. Ha ha, ha ! 

Va. I am in despair ! In the uncertainty whether 
she loves me 

Lis. Uncertainty ? Are all men so hard to con- 
vince ? Do they all become such anxious doubters as 
soon as love warms them a little? Have done with 
those whims of yours, or I shall laugh again. Set your 
wits rather to work to plan something that old Chry- 
sander 

E 2 



52 



lessixg's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



Va. Chrysander does not trust me, and cannot trust 
me. He knows my feeling for Juliane. All my per- 
suasion would be in vain. He would soon discover the 
interested motives which are its source. And if I were 
to make an actual offer of marriage what good would that 
do ? He is outspoken enough to tell me to my face that I 
must waive my claim in favour of his son, who has the 
greatest right to Juliane, on account of his father's 
kindness to her What, then, am I to do ? 

Lis. those wonderful people, who want everywhere 
to go only along the level road. Listen what I have 
thought of. The document, or whatever the thingummy- 
bob is called, is the only reason for Chrysander' s liking 
for this match, and he has sent it to his lawyer. How if 
we were to write a letter purporting to come from this 
advocate, in which in which 

Va. In which he expressed his doubts as to the legality 
of the document you mean? The idea is not so bad. 
But suppose the lawyer happens to write just the opposite 
to him, then our deception will be discovered. 

Lis. What an objection ! Of course you must tune 
him up. It has always been usual for a lover to make 
some sacrifice. 

Va. But suppose now the lawyer is an honest man. 

Lis. You really go on as if you had only been in the 
world a month. As the present is, so is the lawyer. 
If nothing at all comes, the most contemptible swindler is 
the most honest of men. If something comes, but of no 
great value, his conscience still maintains its balance 
pretty well. Temptations may then arise, I dare say, but 
a very little consideration overthrows them ! But only 
let really considerable advantages be offered, and straight- 
way the most honest lawyer is no longer the most honest. 
He puts his honesty along with the gold pieces into his 
coffer where the former begins to rust before the latter. 
1 know these gentlemen. 

Va. Your judgment is too sweeping. All persons of 
the same profession have not the same sentiments. I 
know various honourable old attorneys 

Lis. What do you want witn your old fellows. It is 
just as if you said that the great round cuffs, little pointed 



Scene III.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



53 



buttons, the frightful ruffs big enough to make sails of, 
the broad square-toed shoes, the deep pockets, in short 
the whole get-up in which your fathers may have ap- 
peared on gala days, were still the fashion, because some- 
times here and there one sees a few bent, tottering, old 
fellows creeping along the streets in that style of dress. 
Let them and your ancient old honest lawyers die in 
peace. Fashion and honesty are going the same road. 

Va. One hears directly where the girl is most eloquent. 

Lis. You mean, I suppose, where there is slander afloat ? 
No, truly, I have not chattered so much for the sake of 
slander merely. My chief object was to make you see 
how much gold can do everywhere, and what an excellent 
game a suitor has in his hand, if he is liberal towards all 
— towards the lady, the lawyer and your humble servant. 
(Makes a curtsey.^) 

Va. Eely on my gratitude. I promise you a very 
considerable dowry, if all goes well ■ 

Lis. Ah ! How nice ! A dowry ! You hope, I sup- 
pose, that I shall be left an old maid ? 

Va. If you are afraid of that, I'll promise you the 
husband as well. But come, Juliane will be expecting 
us, doubtless. We will consider our business further in 
concert. 

Lis. Go on before ; I must wait here a little for my 
young sage 

Va. Perhaps he is already below with his father. 

Lis. We must have our conversation alone. Go. You 
haven't spoken to him yet, of course ? 

Va. What wouldn't I give if I could dispense with 
that altogether. As far as he is concerned I would avoid 
this house more than bedlam, were it not that a mors 
agreeable object 

Li 3. Well, go, then, and don't keep this more agreeable 
object waiting for you any longer. 



Scene III. — Anton, Lisette. 

A n. Hullo ! What is she doing in my master's study ? 
Vabr went out just now, Juliane a little while before, 



54 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



and you are still there. I do believe you hold your 
meetings here, Lisette ; I shall let my master know this. 
I will have my revenge — for yesterday, do you remember ? 
Lis. I verily believe you are scolding! "What about 

yesterday? 

An. A box on the ear is soon forgotten by the giver, 
but he whose teeth have chattered from it thinks of it a 
good while. Just take care, just take care. 

Lis. What right have you, then, to kiss me ? 

An. The deuce ! How common boxes on the ear would 
be if every one who wanted to kiss you got one ? Well, my 
master shall give you a fine 

Lis. Your master ! He won't do much to me. 

An. "Won't he ? How often has he not said that so holy 
a place as a study must not be profaned by such unsanc- 

tified creatures as you ? That the god of learning 

stay, what does he call him — Apollo — can't endure a woman. 
The very smell of them is disagreeable to him. He flies 

before them like the kite before the doves And 

do you think my master would permit you to chase his 
beloved god out of the room? 

Lis. Why, you fool, I believe you thi«k that the 
good god will have nothing to do with any but you men ? 
Hold your tongue, or 

An. Yes, another like yesterday's, perhaps. 

Lis. A better one than that. The simpleton deserved 
more than one yesterday. He comes to me when it is 
dark ; he wants to kiss me, I drive him off ; he comes 
again, I hit him on the mouth ; it hurts him, he leaves off ; 
he scolds me and goes .... I could give you another, 
when I think of it. 

An. And so I ought to have waited to see how often 
you would have repeated your caresses ? 

Lis. Granting some more would have followed, they 
would have become weaker and weaker ; very likely the 
last ones would have altogether .... but such a stupid 
donkey deserves nothing. 

An. What's that? Do you mean that really, Lisette ? 
I could almost forget the box on the ears, and be recon- 
ciled to you again. 

Lis. As you please about that. Of what importance 



Scene III.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



55 



is your good- will to me now ? I am on the track of quite 
other game now. 

An. Other game ! Alas, Lisette ! That is a box on the 
ears that I shall not forget so soon ! Other game? I 
should have thought you would have been content with 
one who ran into your net of his own accord. 

Lis. And that is just why he is of no value But 

tell me, where is your master ? 

An. Thank your stars that he stays away so long, and 
be off. If he catches you, you are in danger of being 
whipped out. 

Lis. That's my affair. But where is he ? Hasn't he 
come back from the post yet ? 

An. How do you know that he has gone to the 
post. 

Lis. Enough, I do know it. He wanted at first to send 
you. How came it that he went himself? Ha, ha ! "It 
is quite impossible to do anything with the rascal." In 
truth, that piece of praise makes me quite in love with you. 

An. Who the dickens can have told you that ? 

Lis. Oh, nobody ; only tell me — has he come back ? 

An. A long time ; he is downstairs with his father. 

Lis. And what are they doing together ? 

An. Doing ? Quarrelling. 

Lis. The son, of course, is trying to convince the father 
of his cleverness. 

An. Something of the sort, no doubt. Damis is quite 
beside himself. He won't let the old man put in a single 
word, he counts up to him a thousand books he has seen, 
a thousand he has read, a few more thousands he means 
to write, and a hundred booklets which he has already 
written. First he names a dozen professors who, not with- 
out cause, had given him a written certificate of merit 
with their seals set to it ; then a dozen penny-a-liners, 
who make excellent trumpets for a young sage, if one puts 
silver mouthpieces on them ; then a dozen journalists, who 
have humbly begged him to become their colleague. His 
father looks quite bewildered. He fears for his son's 
health, he keeps saying, " My son, don't excite yourself 
so ; " " Spare your lungs ; " " Just so ; " "I believe you ; " 

Be contented ;" " It wasn't meant in that way." 



56 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



Lis. And Damis ? 

An. Damis keeps on. At last his father makes a final 
exertion. He outshonts him by sheer force, and pacifies 
him with such a mass of praise, as no one in the world 
ever has deserved, does deserve, or will deserve. Then 

the son becomes reasonable once more, and now 

they pass to another subject, another matter, to 

Lis. To what, then ? 

An. Thank goodness, I can hold my tongue ! 
Lis. You won't tell it me ? 

An. Never. I am, it is true, an indifferent sort of 
fellow in other things, but when it is a question of 
silence 

Lis. Is that what you are like ? 

An. I thought you would have been pleased that I 
could hold my tongue ; especially about marriage affairs, 
and what belongs to them 

Lis. Is that all you know ? I knew that long ago. 

An. How well she tries to take me in ! So there was 
no need to tell you that ? 

Lis. Oh dear, no ! But I know what I'll do to revenge 
myself for your rascally distrust of me. You shall not 
dare to keep a secret from a girl of my profession again. 
Do you remember in what terms you spoke of your master 
a short while ago ? 

An. Eemember! Can a man who is up to his ears 
in work, and has so much to say all day long as I have, 
remember every trifle ? 

Lis. I should think that slandering your master was 
rather more than a trifle. 

An. What ! Slandering ? 

Lis. Ha, ha ! You, sir, who are up to your ears in 
work, do you bethink yourself now. What was it you 
said about him to his father just now ? 

An. Either the girl has the devil in her, or that con- 
founded old fellow must have blabbed. But come, Lisette, 
do you really know what I said? What was it, then? 
Just let me hear ? 

Lis. You will hear it all when I tell your master. 

An. Oh, dear, I do believe you are in earnest. You 
surely don't -\frant 'so ruin my credit with my master ? If 



Scene III.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



57 



you really know anything, don't be a fool ! You 

women never understand a joke. I have forgiven you 
a box on the ears and you are going to take revenge for a 
little bit of fun. I'll tell you everything, you know. 

Lis. Tell me, then. 

An. But you won't tell anything ? 

Lis. The more you tell, the less I'll tell. 

An. What else should it be but that the father again 
proposed the marriage with Juliane to his son? Damis 

appeared to be listening, and I can't tell you any 

more. 

Lis. No more ? Very well, then, your master shall hear 
everything. 

An. For Heaven's sake, Lisette ! I will con- 
fess 

Lis. Confess, then. 

An. I can only confess that I really did not hear any- 
thing more. I was sent away at the moment. You know 
well enough that when one is not on the spot one can't 
hear much 

Lis. That's clear. But what do you think, — will 
Damis make up his mind to it ? 

An. If he has not done so yet I shall do my 
utmost to make him. I am to be paid for my trouble, 
Lisette, and when I am paid, you know, then you 
also ■ 

Lis. Yes, yes, I promise you ; you shall be well paid ! 
Just dare to do it. 
An. What? 

Lis. Just have the audacity 

An. What? 

Lis. You blockhead ! My young lady doesn't want 

your Damis 

An. What does that matter ? 

Lis. It follows that it is my will, too, that he should 
not get her. 

An. It follows that, if my master wishes to have her, 
it must be my will that he shall get her. 

Lis. Listen ! You want to be my husband, and have 
a will of your own ? Don't imagine that, my boy. Your 
will must be mine, or 



58 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



An. Hush ! the deuce ! He is coming ! do you hear ? 
He is coming ! Now look for the hole the carpenter has left. 
At any rate, hide yourself ; hide, or he will do for both 
of us. 

Lis. {aside). Stop, I will take in both of them. Where 
shall I go ? Where ? Into the cabinet ? 

An. Yes, yes ! in with you ! Perhaps he'll go again 

soon And I will sit down here quickly. (Seats 

himself at the table, talces up a book, and pretends not to see 
Damis.) 

Scene IV. — Anton, Damis. 

An. (as if to himself). Yes, these learned men, how 
happy they are ! What an ass my father was not to have 
put me to that profession. By Jove ! How delightful it 
must be to know everything in the world, as my master 
does. My stars ! Fancy understanding all those books ! 
If one merely sits among them, whether one reads them or 
not, one becomes at once quite another being. I feel it, I 
really do feel it, intellect is being exhaled over me from 
tliem. Certainly he is right; without learning man is 
nothing more than a brute. Stupid brute that I am. ( Aside). 
I wonder how long he'll let me abuse myself. (Aloud). 
We are truly absurdly matched, I and my master. He 
yields to none in learning, I to none in ignorance. I will 
begin reading this very day. If I live to be eighty I may 
become a fine fellow yet. Only begin briskly. Here are 
books enough. I shall pick out the smallest, for one must 
not overdo it at first. Ah ! Here I light on the loveliest 
of little books. Such a book will surely let itself be read 
and enjoyed. Begin at once, Anton. I suppose it does 
not matter which end you begin at. In truth, it would be 
a shame for my master, who is so marvellously, so fearfully, 
so horribly learned, were he to have such an ignorant 
servant any longer. 

Da. (coming close up to him). Yes, certainly, it would 
be a shame for him. 

An. Heaven help us ! my master. 

Da. Don't be frightened. I have heard all. 

An. You have heard all? .... I beg a thousand 
pardons, if I have said anything wrong. I was so capti- 



Scene IV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



59 



vated, so captivated by the beauty of learning— forgive 
me my stupid prank — that I wanted to become learned 
myself. 

Da. Don't blame yourself for the wisest idea you ever 
had in your life. 

An. Twenty years ago it might have been wise 
enough. 

Da. Trust me, you are not yet too old to learn. 
We can already give several examples in our republic of 
men who in like manner did not throw themselves into 
the arms of the Muses earlier. 

An. Not into their arms only ! I will throw myself 
into their laps. But in what town do these people dwell ? 

Da. In what town ? 

An. Yes. I must go thither to make their acquaintance. 
They must tell me how to set about it. 

Da. What do you mean by a town ? 

An. Do you fancy I don't know what a republic is ? 
Saxony, for instance. And a republic contains more than 
one town ? Doesn't it ? 

Da. What an idiot ! I speak of the republic of the 
learned. What is Saxony, or Germany, or Europe, to us 
learned men ? A sage like me belongs to the whole world ; 
he is a cosmopolitan ; he is a sun which must give light 
to the whole earth. 

An. But surely the republic of the learned must be 
somewhere. 

Da. Be somewhere, you stupid fellow ? The republic 
of the learned is everywhere. 

An. Everywhere ? Then it is in the same place as the 
republic of fools. For I have been told that that too is 
everywhere. 

Da. It is indeed true that fools and wise men, the 
learned and the ignorant, are everywhere intermingled, 
and that too in such a way that the latter always compose 
the majority. You can see that in our own household. 
By what a number of fools and ignorant persons do you 
find me surrounded here. Some of them know nothing, 
and know that they know nothing. You are among these. 
But they would like greatly to learn something, and on 
this account they are the most bearable of all. There are 



60 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



others who know nothing and wish to know nothing ; 
they think that they are happy in their ignorance ; they 
shrink from the light of learning. 
An. What a race of owls ! 

Da. There are others again who know nothing, and 
yet believe they know something. They have learnt 
nothing, absolutely nothing, and yet they want to appear 
as if they had learnt something. These are the most 
intolerable of all fools, and, to confess the truth, my father 
is one of them. 

An. Yon surely are not going to make out that your 
father — bethink yourself, — your father, is an arch-fool ? 

Da. Learn to discriminate. I do not abuse my 
father in so far as he is my father, but in so far as I may 
regard him as one who wishes to usurp the credit of being 
learned without deserving it. In that respect he deserves 
my displeasure. I have often given him to understand 
how he irritates me when, as an old merchant, as a man 
who can know nothing except good and bad wares, about 
true and false money, and at the best only knows how to 
give away the one for the other — when he, I say, makes 
such a show with his school-boy scraps, of which I of 
course still remember something. In this regard he is a 
fool, be he my father or no. 

An. What a pity, what an eternal pity that I did not 
know about " in so far " and " in that regard " when I was 
a youngster. My father should certainly not have thrashed 
me so often for nothing. He should have received as good 
as he gave, not in so far as he was my father, but in so 
far as he was one who struck -me first. Hurrah for 
learning ! 

Da. Stop. I bethink me of a principle of natural law, 
which will support this idea excellently. I must just look 
it out in Hobbes. Patience ! I will make a capital work 
out of this, you will see. 

An. In order to prove that one may strike one's 
father back ? 

Da. By all means, certo respedu. But one must take 
o-ire that when one strikes him, one intends to strike, 
n 3t one's father, but the aggressor ; for otherwise 

An. Aggressor ? What sort of thing is that ? 



Scene IV.] THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. SI 

Da. So he is termed who gives the first blow. 

An. Ha, ha I Now I understand. For instance, if, sir, 
one of those little fits of learned madness were to come 
over yon again, which make themselves felt on my back 

by a good cudgelling, you would be what is it ? 

the aggressor; and I should be entitled to get 

hold of the aggressor, and 

Da. You are mad, fellow. 

An. Don't be alarmed ; I think I should know how to 
regulate my thoughts so as to put the master aside for 
the time. 

Da. Well, in truth, that would be a remarkable example 
of what fatal errors a man may fall into if he does not 
know on what principle one truth or another is to be 
decided. The thrashings which a servant gets from 
his master do not come under the natural law, but the 
civil law. When a servant hires himself out, he hires his 
back out at the same time. Observe this principle. 

An. That is civil law, is it ? What a vile law. But 
now I see. That confounded learning can just as well help 
one to blows as protect one from them. What wouldn't 
I give if I could comprehend all its subtleties as easily as 
you Oh, Herr Damis, take pity on my stupidity. 

Da. Well, if you really mean it, set to work. I am 
pleased to have made a proselyte to learning by my 
example. I will give you ample support by my advice 
and instruction. If you make anything of it I promise to 
introduce you to the learned world myself, and make you 
known to it by a special work. Perhaps I may take the 
opportunity to write something De eruditis sero ad literas 
admissis or De ojpsimathia or even De studio senili, and 
so you will become famous at once. But just let me see 
if there is much to expect from this thirst for knowledge 
of yours ? What book had you in your hand just now ? 

An. It was a very little one 

Da. Which? 

An. It was delightfully bound, with gilt back and 
edges. Wherever did I put it ? There, there. 
Da. That one? That? 
An. Yes, that ! 
Da. That? 



02 



lessixg's dramatic woeks. 



[Act II. 



An. Have I done wrong ? As it was so nice and 
small 

Da. I could not myself have suggested a better one 
for you. 

An. I thought it must be a good book. Would it 
otherwise have such a good dress ? 

Da. It is a book that has no equal. I wrote it myself. 
Do you see? Auctore Damide. 

An. You wrote it ? Well, I have always heard that 
people keep their own children better dressed than their 
step-children. That shows paternal love. 

Da. In this book I have, so to speak, surpassed 
myself. As often as I read it, I learn something new 
from it. 

An. From your own book ? 

Da. Are you surprised at that ? . . . . The deuce ! 
I just remember — good Heavens ! — the poor girl ! She 
can't still be hidden in the cabinet? {Goes towards it.) 

An. In Heaven's name, where are you going? 

Da. What now? To the cabinet. Have you seen 
Lisette ? 

An. Now I am lost ! No, Herr Damis, no ; as I live 
she is not in there. 

Da. You saw her go out then. Has she been gone 
long? 

An. I haven't seen her go in, on my honour. She is 
not there ; only believe me she is not there 

Scene V. — Lisette, Damis, Anton. 

Lis. Assuredly she is still in. 
An. Oh, the wretch ! 

Da. Have you remained here all this time? Poor 
Lisette ! I didn't at all want you to do that. As soon as 
my father was out of the room you might have come out 
again. 

Lis. But I didn't know whether I should be doing 
right, so I preferred to wait until he who had hidden me 
bid mo come out again. 

An. The devil! what hiding are they talking about? 
(Arid> to Lisette). So, ' my sly little kitten ! Has my 



Scene VI.] 



TIIE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



63 



master himself hidden you once before ? Now I know 
how to interpret that box on the ears yesterday. You 
false one ! 

Lis. Be quiet ; don't say a word about my having been 
with you just now, or you know what 

Da. What are you two chattering about together there? 
May not I hear it ? 

Lis. Nothing. I merely told him to go downstairs, 
so that he could tell my young lady, if she asks for me, 
that I am gone out. Juliane is suspicious ; but I suppose 
she would seek me here if she wanted me. 

Da. That's sensible. Off with you, Anton. 

An. Do you wish it really, Lisette ? 

Lis. Certainly, go, leave us alone. 

Da. "Will you go at once ? 

An. But just consider for yourself, Herr Damis ; when 
her chattering becomes wearisome to you, which will be 
very soon, who is to help you to drive her out of the room, 
if I am not by ? 

Lis. Just wait and I'll give your slanderous mouth 

Da. Don't be uneasy. When she becomes troublesome 
to me I doubt not she will have the sense to go of her own 
accord. 

An. But just consider ; a woman in your study ! 
What will your god say to you? He does not like the 
vermin, you know. 

Lis. Shall I have to turn you out of the room ? 

An. That would be delightful. The confounded girls. 
They can flatter themselves into favour with old Harry 
himself. {Exit.) 

Scene VI. — Lisette, Damis. 

Da. And where were we when we left off ? 

Lis. Where were we ? On the subject of which I 
always hear and speak with the greatest pleasure — your 
praise. If only it were not such a delicate matter to praise 
a man to his face ! .... I can't possibly put you to the 
torture. 

Da. But I assure you, Lisette, again, I am indifferent 
to the praise, I should merely like to hear in what 



64 



lessing's dramatic works. 



Act IL 



different ways different people have viewed tie same 
subject. 

Lis. Each one praised in yon that particular quality 
which he thought was deserving of commendation in him- 
self. For instance, the fat little man, with the serious 
air who laughs so rarely, but who when he does once 
begin, overturns the whole table with the shaking of his 
stomach 

Da. Who is that, pray ? I cannot guess from your de- 
scription. Descriptions are ticklish things. It is no easy 
matter to make them so that one may recognise the thing 
described at the first glance. But nothing amuses me 
more than the frequency with which I meet with descrip- 
tions instead of definitions in the works of this and that 
great philosopher — of men, positively, who have given 
their names to whole sects. That happens because these 
good gentlemen have more imagination than judgment. In 
defining, the intellect must probe into the interior of 
things ; but in describing, one must only regard the 
external characteristics, the 

Lis. We are departing from our subject, Herr Damis. 
Your praise. 

Da. Certainly ; go on, Lisette. Of whom was it that 
you were just going to speak ? 

Lis. Eh ? Don't you know the little man, then ? He 
is always puffing out his cheeks 

Da. Perhaps she means the old Councillor ? 

Lis. Eight, but his name 

Da. What does it matter ? 

Lis. " Yes, Herr Chrysander," said the Councillor whose 
name doesn't matter, " your son may one day become one 
of the best councillors in the world, if he will only apply 
himself to it. The office requires an alert mind, which he 
has ; nimble tongue, which he has ; a deep insight into 
politics, which he has ; a power of putting the thoughts 
neatly on paper, which he has ; a subtle attentiveness to 
the slightest movements of turbulent citizens, which he 
has ; and if he has them not — practice, practice i I re- 
member how it was with me at first. Of course one 
cannot bring the ability for so hard an office with one 
into the world 



Scene VIII.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



65 



Da. The fool ! It is indeed true that I possess all these 
abilities, but with the half of them I might become an 
x\lderman, and not a mere 

Scene VII. — Anton, Lisette, Damis. 

Da. Now then, what are you back here for ? 

An. Mistress Juliane knows now that Lisette has 
gone out. Don't be afraid ; she won't disturb us. 

Da. Who told you to come back here ? 

An. Could I leave my master alone, do you think? 
And besides such a qualm came over me all at once, such 
an anxiety ; my ears began to tingle, especially the left 
one Lisette, Lisette ! 

Lis. What do you want ? 

An. (aside to Lisette). What have you two been about 
alone ? I bet it was something about me. 

Lis. Be off; — I don't know what the fool wants. 

Da. Go, Anton ; it is high time ; you must go to the 

post again. I don't know at all why it is so late 

Will you go at once ? 

An. Come with me, Lisette. 

Da. Why should Lisette go with you ? 

An. And why should she be with you ? 

Da. You ignoramus ! 

An. Yes, truly it is my misfortune that I am ignorant. 
(Aside to Lisette). Speak rather loud, at any rate, so that 
I can hear what passes between you — I shall listen. 
(Exit.) 

Scene VIII. — Lisette, Damis. 

Lis. Let us speak rather low. You know we are not 
secure from listeners. 

Da. Good. Go on, then, softly. 

Lis. You know Herr Chrysander's confessor, do you 
not? 

Da. Confessor ? Do you expect me to know all such 
literary botchers. 

Lis. He, at any rate, seemed to know you very well. 
" Herr Damis might certainly become," said he, interrupt- 
ing the fat Councillor, " a good preacher, too. I believe 

VOL. II. F 



66 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



that I have observed in him in a high degree, all the 
requisite qualifications ; a fine physique, a strong cleai 
voice, a good memory, a refined style of delivery, a becom- 
ing confidence, a ripe intellect which can hold boldly to 
its own opinion. I am only afraid about one point. 3 
fear, I fear, that he too is a little infected by freethinking 
ideas." .... "Eh? Freethinking?" shouted the doctor, 
who was already half tipsy. " The freethinkers are right 
good fellows ! Will he be unable to cure anybody on this 
account. If I had my way, he should become a doctor. 
He knows Greek, and Greek is half the art of medicine," 
(gradually raising het voice again). " In truth, one cannot 
give oneself the courage needful for that. Yet it comes 
by itself if one has only practised a little." " Ah ! " inter- 
rupted an old merchant, "it is with you medical gentle- 
men, I suppose, as with the executioners : the first time 
they behead a man they shudder and quake; but the 
oftener they repeat their experiment the brisker it goes." 
At this remark, they laughed a whole quarter of an hour, 
— on and on, — they even forgot their drinking over it. 

Scene IX. — Lisette, Damis, Anton. 

An. The post, sir, will not come in before nine o'clock 
to-day. I have inquired. You can rely on that. 

Da. Must you disturb us again already, idiot? 

An. I shall be very glad if I have disturbed you just 
in time. 

Da. What do you mean by "in time ? " 

An. I will make my meaning clearer to Lisette. May 
I speak a word in her ear ? 

Lis. What have you to say in my ear ? 

An. Only one word (speaking low). Do you think I 
haven't listened ? Didn't you say you " had not courage 
enough for that? but if only you had practised a 

little?" Oh! I heard it all. To" cut the matter 

short, our ways lie in different directions. You shameless, 
horrid 

Lrs. Speak out, do, what you mean. 

Da Get out of my sight again at once ! And don't 
appear in my presence again, until I call you, or until 



Scene XL] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



07 



you bring me letters from Berlin I can hardly bear 

this waiting Such is the result of excessive joy. I 

ought by rights to call it hope, since joy belongs to the 
present, hope to the future. But in this case the future 
is already as certain as the present. I use the language 
of the prophets who, however, can hardly have been so 
certain of their matters as I. The whole Academy must 
be blind, if. ... . What! are you standing there still? 
Will you be off? 

Scene X. — Ltsette, Damis. 

Lis. There you see. That is how these people praised 
you. 

Da. Oh ! If they can't praise better than that, they 
might as well leave it alone altogether. I don't wish to 
boast, but for this much I surely can give myself credit 
without arrogance. I shall leave my bride the choice 
whether she prefers having a Doctor of Divinity, of Law, 
or of Medicine, as her husband. I have graduated in all 
three faculties, in all I have 

Lis. You speak of a bride ? Are you, then, really going 
to marry ? 

Da. Has she, too, heard of it already, Lisette ? 

Lis. Does a marriage come about in any house what- 
ever, without the likes of us? But I could never have 
imagined that you would decide on Juliane — on Juliane ! 

Da. I do this chiefly to please my father, who urges 
me in this matter in the most unusual way. I am quite 
aware that Juliane is not worthy of me. But shall I offend 
my father about such a trifle as marriage ? And besides, I 
have a fancy, which he will indulge me in. 

Lis. Yes, in truth, Juliane is not worthy of you ; and 
if only every one knew my mistress as well as I do 

Scene XI. — Anton, Damis, Lisette. 

An. (aside). I cannot leave these people alone in this 

way Herr Yaler asks whether you are in your 

room ? Are you still there, Herr Damis ? 

Da. Just tell me, you ignorant lout, have you made it 
your special object to-day to annoy me ? 

F 2 



68 



lessing's dramatic woeks. 



[Act II. 



Lis. Let him stay there, Herr Damis. He will not 
keep away, you'll see. 

An. Yes, now I shall stay ; now, perhaps, when what 
I must not hear or see is already over. 

Da. What is over ? 

An. You know very well. 

Lis. (speaking low). Help me, now, Anton, to make 
Juliane as black as we can in your master's estimation. 
Will you? 

An. Yes, very likely; by way of gratitude, per- 
haps 

Lis. Hold your tongue, then, at any rate Of 

necessity, Herr Damis, you will get on ill with Juliane. I 
feel pity for you beforehand. The whole world does not 
contain a worse girl 

An. Don't believe it, Herr Damis ; Juliane is a right 
good child. You could not get on better with any one in 
the world. I wish you happiness beforehand. 

Lis. Eeally? You must be very kindly disposed 
towards your master, when you want to prate such an 
intolerable nuisance round his neck. 

An. And you must be a good deal more kindly dis- 
posed towards your young mistress, when you grudge her 
so good a husband as Herr Damis will prove. 

Lis. A good husband ! Of a truth, a good husband is 
all she desires. A man who will permit everything 

An. Ho, ho ! Everything ? Do you hear, Herr Damis, 
for what Lisette takes you ? On this account you would 
like to be his wife yourself, I suppose ? Everything, eh ? 
That everything includes, I suppose you under- 
stand me, of course ? 

Da. But in earnest, Lisette. Do you really believe 
your young lady will make a thoroughly bad wife ? Has 
she truly many bad qualities ? 

Lis. Many? She has all that any one can have, cot 
excepting those which contradict one another. 

Da. Will you not give me a list of them ? 

Lis. What shall I begin with ? She is silly. 

D4. A trifle. 

An. And I say — a lie. 

Lis, She is quarrelsome. 



Scene XI.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



69 



Da. A trifle. 

An. And I say — a lie. 

Lis. She is vain. 

Da. A trifle. 

An. A lie ! say I. 

Lis. She is no housewife. 

Da. A trifle. 

An. A lie ! 

Lis. By extravagant show, by constant pleasure parties, 
and feasts, she will ruin you. 
Da. A trifle. 
An. A lie. 

Lis. She will hang the anxiety of a host of children on 
your neck for you. 
Da. A trifle. 

An. The best wives are the first to do that. 
Lis. But children that are not your own. 
Da. A trifle. 

An. And a trifle, too, that is fashionable ! 

Lis. A trifle ? What do you mean, Herr Damis ? 

Da. I mean that Juliane cannot be bad enough. Is 
she silly? I am so much the more sensible. Is she 
quarrelsome ? I am so much the calmer. Is she vain ? I 
am so much the more philosophically minded. Is she 
lavish ? She will cease when she has nothing more. Is 
she prolific ? Then she will see what she can do when she 
tries to get the better of me. Let each immortalise itself 
as it can ; women through children, men through books. 

An. But don't you see that Lisette must have an 
object in slandering Juliane in this way. 

Da. Ah! Truly, I do perceive it. She does not 
grudge me to her, and therefore describes her completely 
in accordance with my taste. She has no doubt concluded 
that I will only marry her mistress because she is the most 
unbearable of girls. 

Lis. Only for that ? Only for that ? I have concluded 
that ? I must have supposed you weak in the head, then. 
Just consider 

Da. You go too far, Lisette ! Do not you give me 
credit for thinking at all ? What I have said is the result 
of only too severe thought. Yes, it is settled. I mean to 



70 



LESSING's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II 



increase the number of the apparently unhappy learned, who 
have married bad wives. This resolution is not of to-day. 

An. Well, really ! What is there the devil can't do ? 
Whoever would have let himself dream of it, and now it 
is to become true. I must laugh ; Lisette wanted to draw 
him out of the marriage and only urged him the more to 
it, and I wanted to urge him to it, and should soon have 
dissuaded him from it. 

Da. One must marry some time or other. I cannot 
calculate on a thoroughly good wife ; so I choose a 
thoroughly bad one. A wife of the ordinary kind, who is 
neither cold nor warm, neither very good nor very bad, is 
of no use to a learned man, of no use whatever. Who 
will concern himself about her after his death ? And yet 
he deserves that his whole house shall be immortal with 
himself. If I can't have a wife who will one day find a 
place in a treatise De bonis eruditorum uxoribus, I will at 
least, have one with whose name an industrious man may 
enlarge his collection De malis eruditorum uxoribus. Yes, 
yes ; besides I owe it to my father as his only son to take 
the most careful consideration for the maintenance of 
his name. 

Lis. I can hardly get over my amazement I 

have considered you, Herr Damis, such a great soul 

Da. And not wrongly. In this very matter I consider 
that I give the strongest proof of it. 

Lis. I could almost burst ! . . . . Yes, yes, the strongest 
proof that no one is so hard to catch as a young scholar. 
Not so much on account of his insight and shrewdness, as 
of his folly. 

Da. What impertinence ! A young scholar ? a young 
scholar ? 

Lis. I will spare you the rebukes. Yaler shall at once 
have intelligence of all. Your servant. {Exit). 

Scene XII. — Anton, Damis. 

An. There, you see ! She runs off now, as you won't 
dance to her piping. 

Da. Mulier, non homo ! I shall soon accept this paradox 
as truth. By whit does one show that one is a human 



Scene XIII.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



71 



being ? By reason. By what does one show that one has 
reason ? When one knows how to value properly learning 
and the learned. A woman can never do this, and there- 
fore she has no reason, and therefore is not a human being. 
Yes, indeed, yes. In this paradox lies more truth than in 
twenty manuals. 

An. What was I saying? Did not I tell you that 
Herr Valer has been asking for you ? Won't you go and 
speak to him ? 

Da. Valer? I will wait for him. The time when he 
stood high in my estimation is past. He has laid his books 
aside for some years. He has had the notion put into his 
head that one must give oneself the last finish by social 
intercourse and knowledge of the world, to render useful 
service to the state. What more can I do than pity him ? 
And yet I shall at last have to feel ashamed of him too. 
I shall have to feel ashamed of having ever held him 
worthy of my friendship. Oh, how fastidious one ought 
to be in one's friendships. Yet what has it availed me 
that I have been so in the highest degree ? In vain have 
I avoided all acquaintance with mediocre persons, in vain 
have I striven to associate only with genius, only with 
original minds ; notwithstanding this Valer deceived me 
under the mask of such a one. Oh Valer, Valer ! 

An. Let it be loud enough, if he is to hear it. 

Da. I could have burst with rage at his cold compli- 
ments. Of what did he speak with me ? Of worthless 
trifles. And yet he came from Berlin, and might have 
been the first to inform me of the most pleasing of all 
news. Oh, Valer, Valer ! 

An. Hush ! He is coming, really. You see he does 
not let himself be called three times. 

Scene XIII. — Damis, Valer, Anton. 

Va. Pardon me, dearest friend, for disturbing you in 
your studious tranquillity 

An. He had better say " idleness" at once. 

Da. Disturbing? Do I imagine you would come to 
disturb me ! No, Valer, I know you too well ; you come 
to bring me the most pleasing news, which is worthy of 



72 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act II. 



the attention of a scholar who is expecting his reward 

A chair, Anton ! Sit down. 

Va. You are mistaken, my dear friend. I come to 
complain of your father's fickleness. I come to ask an 
explanation from you, on which my whole happiness will 
depend. 

Da. Oh ! I could see at once from your manner that my 
father's presence prevented you just now from speaking 
to me more confidentially, and expressing your joy to me at 
the honour which the just decision of the Academy 

Va. No, my all too learned friend ; let us speak for a 
moment of something less indifferent. 

Da. Something less indifferent ? Is my honour then 
a matter of indifference to you ? False friend ! 

Va. That title will befit you if you divert me longer 
from that which, for a tender heart, is all important. 
Is it true that you wish to marry Juliane, and that 
your father mean's to bind this too fond girl by bonds of 
gratitude, to act less freely in her choice ? Have I ever 
made a secret with you of my love for Juliane ? Have 
you not always promised me to assist my love. 

Da. You are getting warm, Valer, and forget that 
the cause is a woman. Put this trifle out of your 

thoughts You must have been in Berlin when 

the Academy adjudged the prize for this year. The 
subject was " The Monads." Have not you chanced to 
hear that the motto 

Va. How cruel you are, Damis ! Answer me, do. 

Da. And you won't answer me? Think. Has not 
the prize been assigned to the motto Unum est necessarium ? 
I flatter myself at least 

Va. I shall soon flatter myself about nothing at all 
when I see you so evasive. I shall soon have to believe, 
too, that the report which I took for a joke of Lisette's is 
true. You consider Juliane unworthy of you, you hold 
her to be the shame of her sex, and for this very reason 
you are going to marry her. What a monstrous idea ! 

Da. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Va. Yes, laugh on, Damis, laugh on. I am a fool for 
being able to believe such folly of you for a moment. 
Either you have made fun of Lisette, or she has made fun 



Scene XIV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



7i) 



of me. No! such a resolution could only enter a dis- 
ordered brain ! To hold it in abhorrence one needs only 
to think reasonably— far from nobly — as we know you are 
wont to think. But solve for me, I implore you, this 
torturing enigma. 

Da. You will soon succeed, Valer, in drawing my 
attention to your gossip. So you really desire that I 
should subordinate my fame to your silly fancy ? My 
fame ! But in truth, I will rather believe you are joking. 
You wish to try if I, too, am unstable in my resolutions. 

Va. I joking? Cursed be the joke which enters my 
mind ! 

Da. I shall be the better pleased if you will talk 
seriously. What I say to you is, the paper with the 
motto Unum est necessarium 

Scene XIV. — Chrysander, Damis, Valer, Anton. 

Chrys. (with a newspaper in Ms hand). Well, is it not 
so, Herr Valer ? my son is not to be dissuaded from the 
marriage. Don't you see that it is not so much I as he 
who is bent on this marriage ? 

Da. I ! I am bent on the marriage ? 

Chrys. Hist ! hist ! 

Da. What does " Hist ! hist !" mean ? My honour 
suffers in this. Might not people think that I cared, who 
knows how much, for a wife ? 

Chrys. Hist, hist ! 

Va. Oh, pray don't stand upon ceremony. I see it 
well enough ! You are both against me. What ill-fortune 
it is which brought me into this house. I meet an 
amiable being, I please her, and yet I must after many 
hopes, in the end lose all hope. Damis, if I ever had any 
right to your friendship 

Da. But isn't it so, Valer ? For one thing one must 
be angry with the Berlin Academy. Just think, in future 
the subjects for the prize essays will be made known two 
years previously. Why two years ? Wasn't one enough ? 
Does it take the Germans for such dawdlers ? Since its 
revival, I have sent in my treatise every year, but, without 
boasting, I have never worked at any more than a week. 



74 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



Chrys. But do you know, you good people, what has 
occurred in the Netherlands ? I have the very latest news- 
paper here. They have come to blows pretty smartly. 
But I really am quite angry with the allies. Haven't 
they made a strange business of it again? 

An. Now, there they are, all three talking about 
different things. The one talks of love, another of his 
treatises, and the third of war. If I, too, am to talk about 
anything special, it shall be about supper. To fast from 
mid- day till six o'clock in the afternoon is no joke. 

Va. Unhappy love. 

Da. That ill-advised Academy. 

Chrys. Those stupid allies. 

An. The fourth voice is still wanting ; — those dawdling 
meat-jacks. 

Scene XY. — Lisette, Damis, Yaler, Chrysander, Anton. 

Lis. Well, Herr Chrysander, I thought you were gone 
to call the gentlemen to supper, but I see you want to 
be called yourself. Supper is already on the table. 

An. It was high time. Heaven be praised ! 

Chrys. Quite true, quite true, I had almost forgotten it 
altogether. The newsman stopped me on the stairs. Come, 
Herr Yaler ; we will consider the present state of the 
country together over a glass of something. Put Juliane 
out of your head. And you, my son, may chat with 
your bride. You will have a capital wife ; not such a 
Xantippe as 

Da. Xantippe ? How do you mean ? Are you, too, 
still under the popular delusion that Xantippe was a 
bad wife ? 

Chrys. Do you mean to consider her a good one, then ? 
You surely are not going to defend Xantippe ? Pshaw ! 
That is an A, B, C blunder. I believe the more you 
learned ones learn the more you forget. 

Da. I maintain, however, that you cannot produce a 
single valid piece of evidence for your view. That is the 
first thing which makes the whole matter suspicious, and 
for the rest 

Lis. This everlasting palaver. 



Scene I.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



75 



Chrys. Lisette is right. My son, contra principia 
negantem non est disputandum. Come, come ! 

(Exeunt Chrysander, Damis and Anton.) 

Va. Now all is over with me, Lisette. What am I to 
do? 

Lis. I know of nothing ; unless the letter 

Va. This deceit would be too bad, and Juliane will 

not agree to it. 

Lis. Eh, deceit? If deceit is useful, it is admissible. 

I see clearly I shall have to do it myself. Come away, 

now, and take courage again. (Exeunt.) 



ACT III. 

Scene I. — Lisette, Anton. 
Lis. Wait, Anton, will you ? 

An. Leave me alone. I do not want to have anything 
to do with you. 

Lis. Shan't we make it up again, then ? Will not you 
do what I asked you ? 

An. I am to do something to please you ? 

Lis. Anton, dear Anton, darling Anton, do do it. How 
easily you can give the old man the letter and tell him 
the postman has brought it. 

An. Go, you serpent ! (Aside) How she can wheedle 
now ! (Aloud) Don't stop me ; I must fetch my master a 
book. Let me go. 

Lis. Fetch your master a book ? What does he want 
with a book at table ? 

An. He finds the time long ; and if he does not want 
to be idle, he must make himself something to do, I 
suppose. 

Lis. He finds the time long ? At table ? Now if it 
was in church. Don't they talk at all, then ? 

An. Not a word. I am a rogue if a funeral meal could 
go off as quietly. 

Lis. At any rate, the old man will talk. 

An. He talks without talking. He eats and speaks at 



76 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



onco ; and I believe lie would give, who knows what, if 
he could drink too as well, all three of them at once. The 
newspaper lies by his plate, one eye is on this and the 
other on that. He chews with one jaw and speaks with 
the other. So of course it cannot be otherwise than that 
his words should stick on what he is chewing, so that 
with much difficulty one just hears him mutter. 

Lis. But what are the rest doing ? 

An. The rest? Valer and Juliane look half-dead. 
They don't eat and don't speak ; they look at each other ; 
they sigh ; they drop their eyes ; they glance first at the 
father, then at the son ; they turn white ; they turn red. 
Both rage and despair glance from the eyes of both ; but, 
hurrah ! quite right ! Don't you see it can't go as you 
want ? My master will have Juliane, and if 

Lis. Yes, your master! But what is he doing? 

An. Nothing but silly tricks. He scratches on his plate 
with his fork ; hangs his head ; moves his mouth, as if he 
were talking to himself, wabbles his chair about, then upsets 
a wine glass, lets it lie, does not seem to notice anything 
until the wine is going to run on to his clothes; he 
flies into a passion and even says that I spilt it. But 
enough chattering ; he will swear at me if I don't fetch 
him the book soon. I must look for it. It is on the table 
at the right hand side, he says. Yes, on the right hand ; 
but which right hand does he mean ? If I come so, this 
is the right hand ; if so, this ; if I come this way, it is 
this ; and it is this, if I come like this (approaching all four 
sides of the table). Tell me now, Lisette, which is the right 
right hand? 

Lis. I know that as little as you. Bother the book ; 
let him bring it himself. But, Anton, we are forgetting 
the most important thing, the letter 

An. What, your letter again ? Think. Am I to deceive 
my master on your account ? 

Lis. But it shall be no loss to you. 

An. Really? Isn't it my loss if I have to give up 
what Chrysander has promised me ? 

Lis. But Yaler promised you that you shall lose nothing. 

An. Where does he promise me that, please ? 

Lis. Strange fellow ! I promise it you in his name. 



Scene I.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



77 



An. And even if you keep your word in his name, a 
lot I shall get ! No, no. A sparrow in the hand is better 
than a dove on the roof. 

Lis. But if you are sure of catching the dove, it will 
be better than the sparrow, I suppose. 

An. Sure of catching ! As if everything let itself be 
caught. If I want to seize the dove, I must let the 
sparrow fly out of my hand. Eh ? 

Lis. Let it fly, then. 

An. Good. And now suppose the dove, too, makes off. 
No, no, young woman, Anton is not so stupid as that. 

Lis. What a childish fuss you do make ! Think how 
fortunate you may be. 

An. How, then ? Let me hear. 

Lis. Valer has promised to give me a dowry. What 
are a thousand thalers to such a capitalist ? 
An. Is that what you reckon on ? 

Lis. I take it at the lowest. He wouldn't let you go 
away empty-handed either, if you were helpful to me. 
Then I should have money, and you too would have 
money ; couldn't we become a most charming couple ? 

An. We ? A couple ? Ah ! if my master hadn't hidden 
you. 

Lis. Are not you downright silly ? Why, I have told 
you all that passed between us. Your master, that dear 
book- worm ! 

An. Yes, those book- worms, too, are cursed animals. It 
is quite true a girl like you with a thousand thalers is 
worth at least a thousand thalers ; but still that cabinet, 
that cabinet 

Lis. Do stop, Anton, and don't let one beg you so long. 

An. But why won't you give the old man the letter 
yourself? 

Lis. I have told you the reasons for that ; Chrysander 
could so easily suspect 

An. Yes, yes, you little monkey, I see it well enough ; 
you want to have the chestnuts out of the ashes, and you 
use a cat's paw for them. 

Lis. Very well, my dear puss, do it, then. 

An. How she does get over one ! Dear puss ! Well, 
give it here — the letter, give it me. 



78 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III 



Lis. There, my incomparable Anton. 

An. But it is all right about the dowry, I suppose ? 

Lis. Rely on it 

An. And about my reward besides ? 

Lis. That it is. 

An. Very well, the letter will be delivered. 

Lis. But as soon as possible. 

An. At once, if you like. Come! My stars. 

who is coming ? The deuce ! It is Damis. 



Scene II.— Damis, Anton, Lisette. 

Da. Where is that rascal dawdling with the book ? 

An. I was just going to, I was Lisette and 

in short, Herr Damis, I can't find it. 

Da. Not find it ! Why, I told you on which side it was? 

An. On the right hand, you certainly did say ; but not 
on which right hand. And that is what I was just coming 
to ask you. 

Da. You blockhead, can't you guess that I speak of 
the side where I sit ? 

An. That is true, too, Lisette ; and we have been crack- 
ing our brains over this ! Herr Damis is really cleverer 
than we are {makes a long nose behind Damis's back). Now I 
shall find it, I suppose. Bound in white with red edges, 
is it not ? Go, please, I will bring it at once. 

Da. Yes, it is time now, when we have already risen 
from table. 

An. Already ? The deuce, I have not had enough yet. 
Have you all got up. 

Da. My father will still be there, learning the news- 
paper by heart, that he may play the politician at his club 
to-morrow. Go at once if you think you can be filled 
with his political scraps. But what does Lisette want 
here? 

Lis. Am I not as bearable now as I was before ? 

Da. No, assuredly not. I thought before that Lisette 
had at least so much sense that her chatter could be bear- 
able for a quarter of an hour ; but I was mistaken. She 
is as stupid as the rest of the household. 



Scene III.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



79 



Lis. I have the honour to give thanks in the name of 
all the others. 

An. The deuce ! Why, that is quite a different tone. 
Heaven grant they may have a good quarrel. But I should 
not care to listen Lisette, I'll go at once. 

Lis. (aside to him). Don't forget the letter ; be quick 
about it. 

Da. So. Have you to ask Lisette for permission? I 
order you ; stay where you are. I should like to know 
where you had to go. 

An. To the post, Herr Damis, to the post. 

Da. Ah ! that's true ; go then, go. 

Scene III. — Damis, Lisette. 

Da. Lisette can also take herself off at once. Is- my 
room never to be empty to-day ? First that man is here, 
then this ; then this woman, then that. Am I not to be 
alone a moment? (seats himself at the table). The Muses 
demand solitude, and nothing chases them away sooner 
than a tumult. I have so much, and such important 
business, that I don't know where to begin first, and yet 
people disturb me. The greater part of the afternoon has 
been spent on such a worthless matter as marriage. Is 
my evening, too, to be snatched away through this eternal 
running in and out ? I believe that in no household can 
idleness reign as in this. 

Lis. And particularly in this room. 

Da. In this room ? Uneducated, ignorant girl. 

Lis. Is that reproach or praise ? 

Da. What a low-minded being ! To think of deeming 
ignorance and stupidity no reproach ! No reproach ? I 
should just like to know what conceptions of shame and 
honour such a deranged babbler has. Perhaps we shall 
hear that with her learning is a reproach. 

Lis. Certainly, if it is always of the same stamp as in 
you. 

Da. No, that it is not ; very few have carried it so 
far 

Lis. That one cannot decide whether they are foolish 
or learned ? 



80 



LESSING'S DEAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act III. 



Da. I could go out of my mind 

Lis. Do it, and get into a wiser one. 

Da. How long shall I yet be exposed to the abuse of 

this most worthless creature? Thousands would 

count themselves happy if they had only the tenth part 
of my deserts. I am only twenty years of age, and how 
many should I find who, with almost three times these 

years, are yet But I speak in vain. What honour 

can it bring me to convince an idiotic creature of my ability. 
I understand seven languages perfectly, and am only 
twenty years old. On the whole compass of history, and 
all branches of knowledge allied to it, I am without 
equal 

Lis. And you are only twenty years old. 

Da. How strong I am in philosophy is proved by the 
high degree which I attained even three years ago. The 
world will recognise it yet more unmistakeably in my 
treatise on Monads Ah ! that confounded post. 

Lis. And you are only twenty years old. 

Da My satirical panegyric on " The Nymph of Pos- 
terity," can give an everlasting proof of my more than 
Demosthenic eloquence. 

Lis. And you are only twenty years old. 

Da. In poetry too, I may fairly reach out my hand 
towards the most imperishable laurels. In comparison 
with me, Milton shrinks to nothing, and Haller beside 
me is a mere babbler. My friends to whom hitherto 
I have often read over my attempts, as I am pleased 
to call them, will now hear no more of them, and always 
assure me most sincerely that they are already suffi- 
ciently convinced of my more than godlike poetical 
vein. 

Lis. And you are only twenty years old. 

Da. In short, I am a philologist, an historian, a philo- 
sopher, an orator, a poet 

Lis. And you are only twenty years old ! A beardless 
philosopher, and an orator who is not yet of age ; beautiful 
rarities. 

Da. Be off ! Out of my room this instant. 
Lis. This instant ? I should like so much to bring in 
that nice sentence once more — and you are only twenty 



Scene IV.] THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



81 



years old. Have you nothing more to say in your own 
praise ? Oh, something more ! Won't you ? Then I'll do 
it myself. Listen well, Herr Damis : you are not yet wise, 
and you are already twenty years old ! 

Da. What? How? (Gets up angrily). 

Lis. Good-bye, good-bye ! 

Da. Good Heavens ! What one has to endure from 
these uneducated brutes ! Is it possible that an ignorant 
female 

Scene IY. — Chrysander, Anton, Damis. 

Chrys. This is an accursed letter, Anton. Eh, eh ! My 
son, my son, post coenam stabis, vel passus mille meabis. You 
surely are not going to sit down again so soon ? 

Da. Others, who have nothing to do, may trouble 
themselves about such barbarous rules of health. Im- 
portant business 

Chrys. What have you got to say about important 
business ? 

Da. I ? Why not, father ? Most of the books which you 
see here on the table are waiting, some for my notes, some 
for my translation, some for my refutation, some for my 
defence, and some also for my mere opinion. 

Chrys. Let them wait. Now 

Da. Now I really can't do everything at once. If I 
could only get the most important of them settled. You 
have no idea, what investigation and brain-racking a 
certain inquiry here costs me. A single trifle is still 
wanting to enable me to prove that Cleopatra applied 
the snakes to her arm and not to her breast 

Chrys. Snakes don't do much good anywhere. One 
almost crept into my bosom, too, a short time ago ; but 
there is still time. Listen a moment, my son ; I have here 
received a letter which 

Da. How ? A letter ? A letter ? My dear Anton, a 
letter. My dearest father, a letter ? From Berlin ? Don't 
keep me in suspense any longer. Where is it ? Now you 
will cease to doubt, will you not, of my ability ? How 
happy I am ! Anton, do you, too, know already what it 
contains ? 

Chrys. What means this extravagance ? The letter is 

VOL. II. a 



82 



LESSISG's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



not from Berlin ; it is from my lawyer in Dresden, and 
from what he writes your marriage with Juliane can come 
to nothing. 

Da. Worthless fellow! So you haven't been to the 
post yet ? 

An. Why I have told you that before nine o'clock 
there is nothing for me to go to the post for. 

Da. Ah ! Verberdbilissime, non fur, sed trifur ! Heavens, 
that through anger, I should have to use even the abusive 
language of Plautus. Will a fruitless run kill you, then ? 

An. Are you abusing me ? As I have not understood 
it, let it pass. 

Chrys. But just tell me, Damis ; you still have a little 
feeling of repugnance to Juliane, haven't you ? If that is 
so I will not force you. You must know I am not one of 
those fathers 

Da. Is marriage again on the carpet so soon ? If only 
you would not trouble yourself about my repugnance. 
Enough, I marry her 

Chrys. That means, you are going to force yourself to 
do so on my account. I will not have that at all. If 
you are my son, you are still a man ; and every man is 
born free ; he must be able to do as he pleases ; and 
in short, I give you your word back again. 

Da. Back again ? And a few hours ago I could not 
make up my mind fast enough for you. How am I to 
understand that? 

Chrys. You are to understand it in this way, that I 
have considered it, and that since Juliane does not please 
you she does not suit me either ; that I have learned what 
her real circumstances are from this letter, and that 

You see of course that I have only just received 

the letter. Indeed, I don't really know what I am to think 
of it ? It is not my lawyer's own handwriting, certainly. 
(Damis seats himself at the table again.) 

An. Not? Oh, the good people must know how to write 
more than one hand. 

Chrys. It is almost too soon, as well. It is scarcely 
eight days since I wrote to him. Can he have inquired 
into the matter already, in so short a time ? From whom 
did you get the letter, Anton ? 



Scene IV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



83 



An. From Lisette. 
Chrys. And Lisette ? 
An. From the postman, no doubt. 
Chrys. But why doesn't the fellow bring the letters to 
me himself? 

An. They could not alter themselves in the hands they 
pass through, could they ? 

Chrys. One doesn't know The reasons, however, 

which he brings forward are worth listening to. So I 
must take the safest road, I suppose ; and to you, my son 
.... but I do believe you have seated yourself at the 
table again, and are studying. 

Da. Good Heavens ! I have work to do ; I have a great 
deal of work to do. 

Chrys. Well, then, in a word, in order not to waste ypur 
time, the marriage with Juliane was nothing but an idea 
which you may forget again. When I come to consider 
it rightly, Valer has indeed the best right to her. 

Da. You deceive yourself if you think that I shall 
withdraw from it now. I have carefully considered every- 
thing, and I must tell you in quite plain words that a bad 
wife shall aid me to make my fame immortal, or rather 
that I will make a bad wife, who would not be thought of 
if she had not married a learned man, immortal together 
with myself. The character of such a wedded fiend 
will throw a certain light on mine 

Chrys. Well, well, take a bad wife, then ; but take one 
with money, for with such a one the wickedness is still 
bearable. My first wife, of pious memory, was one of that 
sort. For the twenty thousand thalers, which I got with 
her, I would have married the foul fiend's sister. You 
must not misunderstand me, I don't mean it literally. But 
if your wife is to be a bad one, what do you want with 
Juliane? Listen ; I know an old widow, who has quarrelled 
four husbands into the grave. She has plenty to live on ; 
I should think she would suit you, take her 1 I made your 
mouth water, I must therefore put something into it. If 
you must have a Xantippe you can find no better one. 

Da. Bother Xantippe ! I have told you more than once 
that Xantippe was not a bad wife. Have you forgotten 
the grounds of my evidence again already ? 

6 2 



£4 



LESSING's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



Chrys. Eh ? What ? My evidence is the ABC book. 
He who could write a book, that has become so popular, 
must have understood the matter better than you. And, 
in short, it is of importance to me for Xantippe to be 
a bad wife. I could not be at peace with myself if I 
had praised my first wife so often. So be silent with your 
foolery ; I don't care to be taught by you. 

Da. Those are the thanks we get when we try to help 
people out of their errors. 

Chrys. Since when, then, has the egg been wiser than 
the hen, eh ? Herr Doctor, do not forget that I am the 
father, and that it depends on the father when the son 
shall marry. I will not have Juliane thought of any 
more. 

Da. And why not ? 

Chrys. Shall I encumber my only son with a penniless 
girl ? You are not worth the trouble I take about you. 
You know, of course, that she has no property ? 

Da. Had she more before, when I was to marry her, 
than now ! 

Chrys. You don't understand it. I knew what I was 
doing before ; but I also know what I am doing now. 

Da. If she has no money it is so much the better. 
People won't be able to accuse me then of having taken a 
bad wife for the sake of her money. They will have to 
admit that I had no other object than that of exercising 
myself in the virtues which are required for enduring 
such a wife. 

Chrys. Such a wife ! Who has told you that Juliane 
will be a bad wife ? 

Da. If I were not convinced of it a priori, as we 
scholars are wont to say, I might have concluded it from 
the fact that you are in doubt about it. 

Chrys. That's nice impertinence, my son ! nice imper- 
tinence ! I have brought up Juliane ; she has enjoyed 
much kindness at my hands. I have instructed her in all 
that is good. He who speaks evil of her speaks evil of 
me likewise. What ? I not know how to bring up a girl ? 
J have not brought up a girl who has grown up under my 
care that she will make a good, honest wife ! It is true 
I have not been able to make her rich; I myself am still 



Scene V.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



85 



in need of this blessing. But that I have not made her 
virtuous, and sensible, only one who is as stupid as you, 
my son, can say of me. Don't take it ill that I speak out. 

You are such a dried fool, such a stockfish don't 

take it ill of me, my son such an overworked 

smoked herring but don't take it ill of me 

Da. (aside). I shall believe directly that his first 

business was in the salt-fish line (aloud). Very 

well, father; I will say nothing of Juliane's virtue. 
Virtue is often a species of stupidity. But as for her good 
sense, you must allow me still to have doubts on that head. 
I have been back here again now for a considerable time, 
I have also taken the trouble sometimes to speak a word or 
two to her. But has she ever once turned her thoughts to 
my learning, do you think ? I don't care to be praised ; I 
am not so vain ; but one must let people have their due 

Scene V. — Chrysander, Damis, Valer. 

Chrys. Good, Herr Valer, good ! You come just in the 
nick of time. 

Da. AY hat does this intolerable man want here again ? 

Va. I come to take leave of you both 

Chrys. Take leave? So early? Why then? 

Va. I don't believe you ask that in earnest. 

Chrys. God knows, Herr Valer, I am in most earnest 
earnest. I certainly won't let you go. 

Va. In order to torture me more cruelly still ? You 
know how dear to me the being whom you take from me 
to-day has always been. But the misfortune would be 
small if it fell on me alone. Are you going to unite 
this beloved being to one who hates her as much as I 
adore her? My whole soul is full of despair, and from 
this time forth I shall neither here, nor anywhere else in 
the world, become tranquil again. I go to 

Chrys. Don't go, Herr Valer, don't go ! The evil may 
perhaps be remedied yet ! 

Va. Eemedied ? You insult me if you believe that I 
can ever recover this blow. It would be a mortal one to 
a less tender heart than mine. 

Da. What twaddle ! (Seats himself at the table.) 



86 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act UL 



Ya. How fortunate yon are, Damis. Learn at any 
rate, to recognise your good-fortune ; it is the least thanks 
that you owe to Heaven. Juliane will be yours 

Chrys. Eh? Who says so? She shall be yours soon 
enough, Herr Valer ; only have patience ! 

Va. Cease your cold scoffing 

Chrys. Scoffing? You must know me but little. What 
I say, I say. I have considered the matter again; I 
see that Juliane does not suit my son, and he suits Juliane 
still less. You love her; you have been suing me for 
her a long time ; first come, first served. I have just 
spoken about it to my son You know him 

Va. Heavens, what do I hear ! Is it possible ? WTiat 
a happy change ! Allow me to embrace you a thousand 
times. Then I am to be happy after all ? Oh, Chrysander ! 
Oh, Damis ! 

Chrys. Talk to him, and bring him to reason. I will 
go to Juliane and inform her of my altered resolution. 
She won't take it ill of me, will she ? 

Va. Take it ill? You will give her life again, as you 
have given it me. 

Chrys. Eh ? Can I ? (Exit.) 

Scene VI. — Damis, Valer, Anton. 

Va. And in what terms shall I address you, dearest 
friend? The renewal of your father's promise would 
justify me in passing you over altogether. I have won, 
as soon as ever Chrysander ceases to use pressure on 
Juliane. But how agreeable it will be to me if I can 
thank you in part for my possession of her. 

Da. Anton ! 

An. (comes forward). What about him? Has the post 
come into your head again ? 

Da. Go at once ! It must certainly have come in. 

An. But I tell you, it can't come before ten o'clock in 
such bad weather. 

Da. Do you add on another hour ? Go, without further 
words ! And if you come back with nothing, take care for 
yourself. 

An. If I don't sleep sound to-night, I shall never 



Scene VII.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



87 



believe again as long as I live that weariness can help to 
make me do so. (Exit.) 

Scene VII. — Damis, Valer. 

Va. Well ! instead of answering, you speak with your 
servant ! 

Da. Pardon me, Valer; you spoke to me, did you? 
My mind is full ; it is impossible for me to hear every- 
thing. 

Va. So you want to dissemble with me, too ? I re- 
member the time very well when I was under the same 
Btrange delusion, and thought it showed one's learning to 
be as abstracted as possible and attend to nothing but 
one's book. But, believe me, he must be very simple 
whom you expect to deceive with this humbug. 

Da. And you must be still simpler if you believe any 
other head is as empty of ideas as your own. And does 
your twaddle deserve that I should listen to it? You 
have won, as soon as Chrysander ceases to use pressure 
on Juliane; you are justified you know in passing me 
over. 

Va. That must be a curious sort of abstraction, 1 
think, in which a man hears what another says so exactly 
that he can repeat it word for word. 

Da. Your jesting is very sorry (looks again at his 
booh.) 

Va. But still to be felt ! What a torture it is 

to have to do with a man like you? There are few 
such 

Da. That I believe myself. 

Va. But there would be more if 

Da. Quite so ; if true learning were not so hard to 
attain, if the natural capacity for it were commoner, and 
untiring industry not such a toilsome thing 

Va. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Da. The laugh of a real idiot ! 

Va. You speak of your learning, and I, pardon me, was 
going to speak of your folly. In this I meant there 
would be more like you if this same folly did not become 
a burden to its slaves. 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



Da. Do you deserve that I should answer you ? (Looks 
at the booh again.) 

Va. And do you deserve that I should still be friend 
enough to speak to you without dissimulation. Believe 
me, when you have more sense you will repent of your 
follies ■ 

Da. When I have more sense ? (Scornfully.) 

Va. Are you indignant at that ? This is strange ! 
With your years your body cannot yet be full-grown, and 
you think, nevertheless, that your mind has already 
attained its highest possible perfection ? I should con- 
sider him my enemy who would deny me the privilege of 
increasing my intelligence day by day. 

Da. You? 

Va. You become so scornful, my rival but there 

she is herself! (runs towards her) Oh, Juliane 

Scene VIII. — Juliane, Damis, Valer. 

Ju. Oh, Valer ! What a happy change ! 

Da. (turning in his chair.) I have doubtless, Mademoi- 
selle, to thank an error for the honour of seeing you here. 
You perhaps think that you are entering your own 
chamber. 

Ju. That error would be unpardonable ! No, sir, it 
happens by order of your father that I set foot on this 
sacred spot. I come to retract a bargain with you, and to 
beg your Muse's pardon for having almost run the risk 
of alienating so amiable a soul from her. 

Va. How delighted I am, lovely Juliane, to see you in 
your playful mood again. 

Da. If 1 rightly understand a girl's rubbish you come 
to annul a pactum, which has nevertheless all the requisita 
which are demanded for an irrevocable pactum. 

Ju. And if I may understand the gibberish of a young 
scholar you have hit the mark. 

Da. My father is an idiot. Is it in his or your power 
alone, Mademoiselle, to annul an agreement which re- 
mains firm on my side? We shall see. Now 

might I beg of you to leave me in quiet. (Turns to the 
table again.) 



Scene IX.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



89 



Va. What behaviour ! Did any man ever behave so 
to a girl to whose possession he lays claim ? 

Da. And has any one ever been so troublesome to a 
busy scholar? To get quit of this vexatious company I 
must myself leave my four walls. (Exit.) 

Scene IX. — Yaler, Juliane. 

Ju. And we do not laugh at him ? 

Va. No, Juliane ; may a better joy fill our hearts 
now ; and besides there is a sort of cruelty in making our- 
selves merry over so pitiable a fool. How shall I describe 
to you the emotions of my heart, now, when all its 
happiness has been given back to it? I implore you, 
Juliane, if you love me, leave this dangerous house this 
very day with me. Do not any longer expose yourself to 
the vehemence of a changeable old man, the ravings of a 
young pedant, and the weakness of your own too gentle 
disposition. You have been taken from me and given 
back in one day ; let it be the first and last which shall 
play with us so cruelly. 

Ju. Be calm, Valer. Let us not do anything which 
might draw down reproaches on us from Chrysander. 
You see he is in the right way ; and I love him as much 
as I despise Damis. I should ill repay his kindness by 
mistrustfully suddenly withdrawing myself from his care. 

Va. You still speak of kindness always ? I shall not 
feel at peace until I have freed you from these dangerous 
bonds. Permit me to annihilate them entirely, and as 
for the selfish old man 

Ju. Do not call him that, Valer ; he is not so ; and his 
change of mind already shows that Lisette was wrongly 
informed, or has deceived us. Indeed, I don't know to 
whom I ought to ascribe this change (Beflecting.) 

Va. Why so thoughtful all at once ? The cause which 
moved him may be what it will. I know, at any rate, 
that it is a dispensation of Providence. 

Ju. Of Providence, or else of Lisette ! It now suddenly 
occurs to me what she said about a letter. Could Lisett.'a 
excessive zeal . 



«J0 



LESSLNG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act III. 



Va. What imagination, dearest Juliane! Why, she 
knows that your good principles will not consent to this 
petty deceit. 

J u. Nevertheless, the more I think of it 

Va. Even if it were so, would you on this account 

J u. Even if it were so ? How ? 

Scene X. — Lisette, Yaler, Juliane. 

Ju. You come as if called, Lisette. 

Lis. Well ? Don't my affairs go on excellently ? Won't 
you come down with me and listen how Damis and Chry- 
sander are quarrelling ? " You shall not have her ; " " I 
must have her ; " "I am your father ;" " You have promised 
her to me ; " "I have changed my mind ; " "I have not, so 
it must go on;" "That is impossible;" " Impossible or 

not in short, I won't withdraw ; I will prove to you 

from books that you must keep your word with me ; " 
" You and your books may go to the deuce." Why do I 
repeat so much of their silly talk ? The father is right ; 
he manages cleverly ; but he certainly wouldn't manage 
so cleverly if I had not been so clever first. 

Ju. How do you mean that, Lisette ? 

Lis. I don't like praising myself. Briefly, my dear 
mistress, I am your guardian angel ! 

Ju. You ? And how, then ? 

Lis. By paying a deceiver in his own coin. The 
horrid old 

Ju. And so you have deceived Chrysander ? 

Lis. Don't say that. One does not deceive a deceiver, 
one only gets the better of him. I have got the better of 
him. 

Va. How? 

Lis. It is bad enough that you have forgotten it again 
already. I should imagine that to be grateful people 
would require a better memory. 

Ju. You have, then, actually palmed off the false letter 
on him, I suppose? 

Lis. Heaven forbid ! I have merely sought to change 
his mind by a forged letter, and I have succeeded in it. 

Ju. You have done that ? And I owe my happiness 



Scene XII.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



91 



to a deceiver ? Let the result be what it will, Chry 
sander shall hear of it at once. 

Lis. What does that mean ? Are these the thanks 1 
get? 

Va. Consider, Juliane ! Stay. 

Ju. Impossible, Valer ; let me go. (Exit Julianh.) 

Scene XI. — Valer, Lisette. 

Va. Heavens ! Now all is over again. 

Lis. Well, she may have her way ! I could spit poison 
and gall, I feel so wild ! To call me a deceiver in return 
for my good-will ! I hoped she would fall on my neck 

for joy How the old man will storm at me ! He 

will drive me and you out of the house. What do, you 
propose to do now ? 

Va. Ah ! What am I to do now, Lisette ? 

Lis. I think you answer me with my own question ! 
That is easy. I have come to the end of my good advice. 
I'm likely to meddle in such a business again soon ! 

Va. But at what an unlucky moment, too, you came, 
Lisette. I had told you that Juliane would not consent 
to this trick. Couldn't you have held your tongue a while 
longer ? 

Lis. Could I imagine that she would be so extra- 
ordinarily obstinate ? You can easily fancy how it is with 
people of my sort : if you had given me ever so much, 
I could not have concealed from her any longer that 
she owed her happiness to me : Joy is talkative, and 
Oh, I should like 

Scene XII. — Anton, Valer, Lisette. 

An. (with letters in his hand). Ha, ha ! You are holding 
a meeting again ! If my master knew what wicked 
plots were being laid against him in his own room, he 
would, Lisette But how queer ly you are stand- 
ing there together ! Herr Valer looks troubled ; you are 
fiery, as fiery as a turkey-cock. Have you been fight- 
ing, or otherwise taking exercise ? Eh, eh ? Lisette, 
listen (in a low voice to Lisette). You surely 



02 



LESSIXG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



haven't fallen out with him about the dowry ? He hasn't 
withdrawn his promise, has he ? That would be a cursed 
trick. (Aloud). No, no, Herr Valer, what a man promises 
that he must keep to. She has served you well, and so 
have I. The deuce ! Do you suppose, then, people of 
honourable mind will feel no qualms of conscience, when 
they have deceived their masters for nothing at all ? I 
am not going to let myself be humbugged, and my claim 

at any rate Devil take me ! I'll employ a lawyer, 

a regular bulldog of a lawyer, who you may be sure shall 

give you so much to do 

Lis. Oh ! be quiet, fool. 

Va. What do you mean? Whom are you speaking 
to? 

An. My stars ! I am speaking to our debtor. You 
might understand that by my tone I should think. 

Va. And who then is your debtor ? 

An. Does it come now to this, that you want to deny 
the debt? Listen; my lawyer will put you on your 
oath 

Va. Lisette, do you know what he means ? 

Lis. The madman ! I wanted him just now to deliver 
the letter, and promised him a reward from you, if the 
matter turned out well. 

Va. Nothing more ? 

An. I should have thought that was enough, though. 
And how does it stand with Lisette's dowry ? I must take 
as much care about her property as about mine, since it is 
going to be mine, you know. 

Va. Don't be uneasy. If I attain my happiness I 
certainly won't forget yours. 

An. But suppose you don't? A promise is still a 
promise. 

Va. Even in that case I will not leave your zeal un- 
rewarded. 

An. Oh, that is fine talk, fine talk. 
Lis. Just be quiet, do. 

An. What a fool you are ; I am speaking for you, too. 
Lis. But it is quite unnecessary. 
An. Unnecessary ? Haven't you been quarrelling ? 
Lis. Well, why not ? 



Scene XIIL] THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



An. Hasn't he withdrawn his promise ? 
Lis. No. 

An. Oh then, pardon me, Herr Valer. Anger can easily 
seize an honest man. I am a little hasty, especially in 
money matters. Don't be afraid of the lawyer. 

Va. Can I linger here any longer in such torturing 
uncertainty? I must speak to her; perhaps she hasn't 
done it yet. 

Lis. But if she has done it, don't you go too near the 
old man. 

Va. I have known nothing of the whole affair. 
Lis. So much the worse, then, for me. Go along. 

Scene XIIL — Anton, Lisette. 

An. So much the worse for you? What, then," is so 
much the worse for you ? Why mustn't he go near the old 
man ? What are you up to, again. 

Lis. That confounded letter. 

An. What letter. 

Lis. The one I gave you just now. 

An. What about it? 

Lis. It is all in vain ; my trouble is for nothing. 

An. How so ? As I live I have delivered it properly. 
Don't talk any nonsense and shift the blame on to me. 

Lis. It was delivered right enough ; and it has already 
had its effect, too. But Juliane has herself upset the cal- 
culation. She insists on letting the old man know that 
the letter was forged, and has probably done it already. 

An. What the deuce ! She herself? We shall fare 
nicely. You see, the sparrow and the dove are gone now. 
And the worst of all is that, while I was going to catch 
the dove, I have tumbled into the mud. Or, to speak to you 
plainly, and without metaphor, I have lost the promised 
reward from the old man, and the imagined one from 
Valer escapes me too, and all the profit I shall make out 
of this business is a " To the devil with you," accompanied 

by a gracious poke in the ribs Will you still take 

me after that, Miss Lisette ? Oh, you must. I'll teach you 
to make people unfortunate 

Lis. I shall be better off, of course ? We take our road 



94 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



+nrr P fher, and when we are once united, you will have to 
see how you will maintain me. 

ajs. Maintain you ? In these hard times ? If I could 
only go round with you, like the man with the big beast 
that has a horn on its nose. 

Lis. Don't distress yourself, I'll soon turn you into a 
beast with a horn. It will amount to the same thing, I 
suppose, whether you go round with me, or I with you. 

An. Well, certainly, with you one knows, at any rate, 

where one is But, not to mix things up, where is 

my master ? Here at last are his confounded letters. 

Lis. Do you see him ? 

An. No ; but if I don't mistake, I hear him now. 
Lis. Just let him come ; I will make him mad yet, to 
finish up with. 

Scene XIV. — Anton, Lisette, Damis (advances in deep 
thought ; Lisette slips behind him and imitates his gestures). 

An. Stay ! I will keep him on the hook a little longer, 
and not give him the letters at once. (Hides them.) Why 
so lost in thought, Herr Damis ? What have you on your 
mind again ? 

Da. Hold your tongue. 

An. That's a short answer ! But shall not a servant 
be anxious about his master ? It would be quite reason- 
able too for me also to know what you were think- 
ing of. Even a blind ben sometimes finds a grain, and 
perhaps I might 

Da. Silence ! 

An. That's a still shorter answer. If it gradually 
decreases in this way, I shall see presently what is left. 
What are you reckoning on your fingers ? What has your 
poor nail done to you that you bite it so? (Sees Lisette.) 
And, the deuce ! what sort of ape is that ? Are you mad ? 

Lis. Hold your tongue. 

An. For Heaven's sake go ! If my master wakes out 

of his sleep and sees you 

Lis. Silence ! 

An. Are you making fun of me or of my master ? Just 
look behind you, Herr Damis. 
Da. (walks up and down a few times in deep thought, 



Scene XIV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



95 



Lisette in the same fashion behind him ; and when he turns she 
slips round quickly, so that he does not see her). 

" The flame of my marriage-torch 
Shall now by myself be sung." 

An. Ho, ho ! yon are making verses ? Come, Lisette, 
we must leave him alone now. On occasions like this 
he has already kicked me out of the room, more than once. 
Come ; he is sure to call us back again, himself, as soon as 
he is done, and perhaps the whole house as well. 

Lis. ( While I) amis turns, she remains motionless in front 
of him, and assumes his tone.) 

" The flame of my marriage-torch 
Shall now by myself be sung." 

(Damis pretends not to see her, and runs against her.) 
Da. What's that? 

Lis. What's that ? (Both as if they were coming to them- 
selves). 

Da. Ignorant, low-minded fellow ! Haven't I told you 
often enough to let no one into my room, or at the most 
only my father. What does she want here ? 

Lis. Ignorant, low-minded fellow ! Haven't you told 
me often enough that I must leave the room ? But can't 
you imagine that she who has been allowed to be in the 
cabinet, will also have permission to be in the room? 
Ignorant, low-minded fellow ! 

An. Which am I to answer now ? 

Da. Turn her out of the room at once. 

An. Turn her out ? By force ? 

Da. If she won't go quietly 

An. Lisette, go quietly 

Lis. As soon as it suits me. 

Da. Turn her out, I say. 

An. Come, Lisette, give me your hand ; I will lead 
you out with all ceremony. 

Lis. You bear ! Who would presume to lead a girl 
with uncovered hands ? 

An. Oh, I know how to behave, too ! In the absence 

of a glove (takes the lappet of his waistcoat). May 

I have the honour 



96 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III 



Da. I see clearly I shall myself have to (rushes 

at her). 

Lis. Ha, ha, ha ! I only wanted to make you do it ! 
Good-bye. (Exit.) 

Scene XV. — Anton, Damis. 

Da. Now all my thoughts are scattered again ! The 
fire is gone out. The imaginative power is dispersed. 

The god who must inspire us has deserted me The 

cursed creature ! What vexation she has caused me to-day. 
How scoffingly she has behaved to me. Heavens! To 
mimic me so ridiculously in my reverie. 

An. But you didn't see it, you know. 

Da. I didn't see it ? 

An. Did you? Is it possible? And you only pre- 
tended that? 

Da. Silence, idiot ! I'll see if I can bring myself again 
into the ecstasy. 

An. You had better not do so ; the verses over which 
one looks so black, cannot possibly turn out well. But 
mayn't one know what it is going to be ? An evening 
song, or a morning song ? 

Da. Blockhead ! 

An. A penitential song. 

Da. Ninny ! 

An. A feasting song ! Not that, either ! . . . . You surely 

are not going to make a dirge ? As I am an honest man, 
if I were ever so great a poet, I would leave them unmade. 
Dying is the most absurd trick that a man can play him- 
self. It doesn't deserve a verse, let alone a song. 

Da. I must have pity on your ignorance. You know 
no other sort of poems than those you have met with in 
your hymn-book. 

An. There are others, then, I suppose ? Let me hear 
what you compose. 

Da. I am composing an Epithalamium. 

An. An Epithalamium. My stars! That's a difficult 
thing ! And can you really manage that ? Art is wanted 

for that But, Herr Damis, in confidence, what is 

an Epith — pitha—thlamiumf 



Scene XV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



07 



Da. How can you say that it is difficult, if you don't 
know yet what it is ? 

Ax. Eh ? Why, the word is quite hard enough. Just 
tell me what it is under some other name. 

Da. An Epithalamium is a Thalassio. 

An. Oh, ah ! Now I understand. An Epithalamium is 
a what do you call it ? 

J) A. Thalassio. 

An. A Thalassio ; and you can make that ? You will 
want a good deal of time for that, at any rate. But, I say, 
if any one asks me now what a Thalassio is, what am I to 
answer ? 

Da. Then you don't know what a Thalassio is, either ? 
An. I for my part know well enough. A Thalassio is 

an what do you call the other word ? 

Da. Epithalamium. 

An. Is an Epithalamium. And an Epithalamium is a 
Thalassio f Haven't I remembered it correctly, eh ? But 
then that might not be clear to other people, who don't 
understand either word. 

Da. Well, then, tell them a Thalassio is a Hymenceus. 

An. The deuce! That is giving people trouble. An 
Epithalamium is a Thalassio, and a Thalassio is a Hymenceus. 

And so, the other way, a Hyin — hym The deuce 

may remember the names. 

Da. Right, right. I see, though, that you are begin- 
ning to attain a conception of things. 

An. I a conception of this ? As I am an honest man, 
you are mistaken. A goblin must have whispered it to 
me if I know what those outlandish words mean. Tell 
me their English names ; or havn't they any ? 

Da. They have one, truly, but it is far removed from 
the grace and expressiveness of the Greek or Latin. 
Just say yourself whether a "Marriage poem" does not 
sound much poorer than an Epithalamium, a Hymenaius, a 
Thalassio. 

An. Not to me ; certainly not to me. For I understand 
one and not the other. So you have been desiring to 
compose a marriage poem. Why didn't you say that at 
once ? . . . . Oh ! I have an acquaintance with marriage 
poems which is astonishing. I must just tell you how I 

VOL. II. H 



98 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



came by it. My lately deceased father had a cousin 

and so, in some degree, he was my cousin too 

Da. What rubbish is coming ? 

An. You won't wait for it? Well. It is your loss. 

So to proceed ; you were going to compose verses on a 
marriage ? But on what marriage ? 

Da. What a question ! On my own. 

An. So you are still going to marry Juliane. The old 
man won't have it, you know ! 

Da. Oh ! He ! 

An. Quite true. Why should a son trouble himself 
about his father ? But tell me, is it becoming for one to 
compose verses on one's own marriage? 

Da. It certainly is not usual ; but so much the better. 
Minds like mine love the peculiar. 

An. (aside). Hist ! I'll play him a trick now 

Aloud,} I say, Herr Damis, I would myself gladly see you 
marry Juliane. 

Da. Why so? 

An. I don't know whether I dare make so bold as to 

tell you. I have I have myself 

Da. Out with it. 

x\n. I have myself tried to make verses on your 
marriage, and therefore I should not like that my trouble 
should be lost. 

Da. They must be something splendid ! 

An. Certainly ! For that is my failing ; I either do 
something excellent or else nothing at all. 

Da. Give it me. Perhaps I may improve your rhymes, 
so that they may do honour to both of us. 

An. Listen ; I will read them over to you. (Feels for 
a scrap of paper in his pocket.) I must tell you, I have not 
quite finished it yet. But the beginning, out of which one 

can always make the end, runs thus Push the 

light a little nearer to me 

Thou, oh noble skill, 
For our proposed end, 
Effective means 

Da. Stop ! You are a miserable bungler. Ha, ha ! 
That "Thou oh" is quite useless. "Noble skill" says 



SCENL XV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



99 



no less, and " Thou, oh noble skill " no more. Deleatur 
ergo, " Thou, oh." But that there should not be two 
syllables wanting, strengthen the epithet noble, after 
the manner of the Greeks, and say 11 super-noble." I am 
quite aware that " super-noble " is a new word ; but I 
know too that it is new words which most chiefly distin- 
guish poetry from prose. Remember these little dodges. 
You must by all means strive to say something unheard 
of, something that has not yet been said. Do you under- 
stand me, you stupid devil ? 
An. I will hope so. 

Da. Then your first verse is, Super-noble skill, and so on. 
Now read further. 

An. For our proposed end 

Effective means to send, 
And, when the hour doth ivill, 
With thy own strength to strive, 
Shalt, till this planet's ball 
To its first Cha — Cha — Chaos fall, 
Like to a poplar thrive. 
But, Herr Damis, can't you tell me what it was I thought 
of here ? Confound it ! That is fine ; I don't understand 

it myself any more, " To its first Cha — Chaos I 

should never have thought I had the word in my mouth, 
it sounds so dreadful to me. 
Da. Show it 

An. Wait, wait ! I will read it over to you once more. 
Da. No, no ; hand me the paper. 

An. You can't possibly read it. I have written much 
too badly; not a letter stands upright. They are all 
jumping on one another's backs. 

Da. Give it me ! 

An. (gives him the paper trembling). The deuce! It is 
his own writing. 

Da. (looks at it for a time). What does this mean ? 
(Jumps up angrily.) Cursed traitor, whence did you get 
this leaf? 

An. Not so angry ; not so angry ! 

Da. Whence did you get it? 

An. Are you going to throttle me ? 

Da. Whence did you get that leaf, I ask ? 

n 2 



100 



lessixg's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



An. Let me go first. 
Da. Confess. 

An. From from your waistcoat-pocket. 

Da. Untaught brute! Is that your honesty? That 
is a theft, a plagium. 

An. The deuce! To make a thief of me for such a 
trifle ! 

Da. Trifle? What! Call the commencement of a 
didactic philosophical poem a trifle ? 

Ax. You said yourself it was good for nothing. 

Da. Yes, in so far as it was intended for a marriage- 
cantata, and in so far as you were composer of it. At 
once produce the other manuscripts which you have 
stolen from me of late. Am I to see my work in the 
hands of strangers ? Am I to permit a hideous jackdaw to 
adorn himself with my beauteous peacock plumes ? Out 
with them quickly, or I shall adopt other measures. 

An. What do you want ? I haven't got a single letter 
more of yours. 

Da. Turn all your pockets inside out at once. 

An. I dare say ! If I turn them inside out, everything 
I have got in them will fall out. 

Da. Do it, and don't enrage me. 

An. I am a scoundrel if you find so much as a scrap 
of paper on me. But still that you may have your will, 

here is one; here is another what do you see? 

There is the third ; that too is empty. Now for the 

fourth {When he turns it out, the letters fall out?) 

.... The deuce ! those damned letters ! I had quite 

forgotten them (Stoops to pick them up again 

quickly.} 

Da. Give it me, give it me ! What fell there ? 
It is something else of mine I expect. 

An. As true as I live it is nothing of yours. It 
might rather be something addressed to you. 

Da. Don't delay me ; I have other things to do. 

An. Don't delay me. You surely know that I must 
be going to the post again directly. I know there are 
letters there. 

Da. Go then, go ! But show me first what you 
picked up so quickly. I insist. I must see it. 



Scene XV.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



101 



An. The deuce ! If that's so, I need not go to the post. 
Da. How so ? 

An. Well, well ! There they are. I shall be off at 
once. {Gives Mm the letter and is running off.) 

Da. {looking at it). Ha ! Anton, Anton ! This is just 
the very letter from Berlin I am expecting. I know it 
by the address. 

An. It may well be that it is it. But, Herr Damis, 

don't be be angry. I had quite forgotten it, on 

my soul. 

Da. What had you forgotten ? 

An. That I have been carrying the letter in my 
pocket for almost half-an-hour already. That confounded 
chattering ! 

Da. Since it is here now, I will forgive you that 
stupid blunder But, my dearest Anton, what un- 
paralleled, what priceless news must this contain ! How 
pleased my father will be ! What honour, what praise ! 

Oh, Anton ! I will read it at once to you {Breaks 

it open quickly.) 

An. Gently, you are tearing it up. There now. 
Didn't I say so ? 

Da. No harm is done. We can still read it. First of 
all I must tell you what it is about. You know, or 
rather you do not know, that the Prussian Academy 
offered a prize for the best dissertation on the theory of 
Monads. It occurred to me quite late to take this prize 
out of the mouths of our philosophers. So I set about it 
at once, and wrote a treatise, which must have arrived 

just in the nick of time A treatise, Anton 

I don't know myself where I got it from, it is so learned. 
It is now a week since the Academy made known their 
judgment on the writings sent in, which must necessarily 
have gone in my favour. I, I and no other, must have 
the prize. I have solemnly engaged one of my friends on 
the spot to give me news of it at once. Here it is ; now 
listen : 

" My dear Damis, 

"How well you know how to get an answer from 
your friend. You threaten me with the loss of your affec- 



102 



lessixg's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



tion if you do not hear from me the first intelligence as to 
whether you, or another, has carried off the Academy's 
prize. I must therefore with all speed report to you that 

you have not (stammering) obtained it, and also 

I more and more timidly) could not have 

obtained it." 

What ? I have not obtained it ? And who has, then ? 
And why not ? 

" But allow me to speak to you as your friend." 
Speak, traitor. 

" It was impossible for me to do you the ill service of 
giving in your treatise." 

So you have not sent it in, false man! Heavens ! 

What a blow ! And so your negligence, unworthy 

friend, is to deprive me of the reward I merit ? 

How will he excuse himself, the worthless fellow ? 

" If I am to confess the truth, you appear to have done 
something quite different from what the Academy re- 
quired. They did not wish you to discuss what the word 
monad signifies grammatically ; who used it first ; what it 
means in Xenocrates ; whether the Monads of Pythagoras 
were the Atoms of Moschus, &c. How do these critical 
trivialities concern them, especially when the main subject 
was lost sight of among them ? How easily might some- 
body have guessed your name, and then you might have 
been exposed to jests such as I found on you only a few 
days ago in a learned journal " 

What do I read? Can I believe my eyes? Oh, cursed 
paper. Cursed hand that wrote thee! (Throws the letter 
on the ground and tramples on it.) 

An. The poor letter ! But one must read to the 
end. (Takes it up.) Perhaps the best is still to come, 
Herr Damis. Where were you ? Here it is ; listen now. 

" In a learned journal They call you a youthful 

scholaraster who would like to shine everywhere, and 
whose passion for scribbling " 

Da. (snatches the letter out of his hand). The damned 
correspondent ! This is the reward the letter deserves ! 
(tears it.) You tear my heart, and I tear your shameless 
news. Would to God I could do the same with your 



Scene XVI.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



entrails! But (to Anton.) You worthless igno- 
rant brute ! It is all your fault ! 
An. Mine, Herr Uamis ? 

Da. Yes, yours. How long did you keep that letter 
in your pocket ? 

An. Sir, my pocket can neither read nor write ; if you 
should think that it can have altered it 

Da. Silence! .... Can I survive such abuse? 

Oh, ye stupid Germans. Yes, truly, it needs another 
genius to value properly such works as mine. You 
will ever remain in the darkness of your barbarism, and 
be a laughing-stock to your intelligent neighbours. But 
I will be revenged on you, and from this time forth will 
cease to be called a German. I will leave my thankless 
fatherland. Father, relations and friends are all; all 
unworthy that I should recognise them any longer, since 
they are Germans ; since they are of the people who 
casts its greatest spirits with violence from itself! 
I am sure that France and England will recognise my 
desert 

An. Herr Damis, Herr Damis, you are beginning to 
rave. I am not safe with you ; I shall have to call some 
one. 

Da. They will feel in good time, those stupid Germans, 
what they have lost in me ! To-morrow I will make 
arrangements to leave this unhappy country 

Scene XYI. — Chrysander, Damis, Anton. 

An. God be thanked that some one has come. 

Chuys. That confounded girl Lisette ! And (to Anton) 
you, you rascal ! You too shall have your postman's pay. 
To deceive me so ! Very good ! . . . . My son, I have 
reflected ; you are right ; I cannot now take Juliane from 
you again. You shall have her. 

Da. Juliane again already ? Now, when I have quite 
other matters to decide. Do stop talking of it. I don't 
want to have her. 

Chrys. It would be wrong of me to desire to oppose 
you any longer. I leave every one his freedom. And \ 
see clearly that Juliane pleases you. 



104 



lessixg's deamatic works. 



[Act III 



Da. Me ? A stupid German woman ? 

Chbys. She is a pretty, virtuous, upright girl ; she 
will bring you a thousand joys. 

Da. You may praise her or abuse her ; it is all the 
same to me. I know how to act in accordance with your 
will, and that is, not to think of her. 

Chrys. No, no. You shall not be able to complain of 
my severity. 

Da. And you still less of my disobedience. 

Chrys. I will show you that you have a good father, 
who regulates his acts more in accordance with your will 
than his own. 

Da. And I will show you that you have a son who 
renders you in all things due submissiveness. 

Chrys. Yes, yes. Take Juliane. I give you my 
blessing. 

Da. No, no. I will not thus provoke you. 

Chrys. What does this opposition mean? You pro- 
voke me by that. 

Da. I cannot believe that you have already changed 
your mind for the third time in earnest ? 

Chrys. And why not ? 

Da. Oh, let it be as it may. I too have changed, and 
am firmly resolved not to marry at all. I must travel, 
and the sooner I set about it the better. 

Chrys. What ? You will rush on into the world with- 
out my leave ? 

An. This is a joke. The third man is still wanting, 
and I will fetch him at once. Damis won't have Juliane ; 
perhaps Valer will catch her. (Exit.) 

Scene XVII. — Chrysander, Damis. 

Da. Yes, yes, In twice four-and-twenty hours I must 
already be on my way. 

Chrys. Whatever has come into your head ? 

Da. I have for some time been tired of staying in 
Germany, in this northern abode of rudeness and stu- 
pidity, where all the elements hinder one from being 
wise ; where a mind like mine is born hardly once in a 
hundred yea/s. 



Scene XVIII.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



105 



Ciirys. Have you forgotten that Germany is your 
fatherland ? 

Da. What is fatherland to me ? 

Chrys. You reprobate ; better say at once, what is 
your father to you. But I will show you : you must take 
Juliane ; you have given her your word, and she has 
given hers to you. 

Da. She has withdrawn hers, as I do mine now ; there- 
fore 

Chrys. Therefore, therefore ! To speak briefly of the 
matter : do you realise that I am able to disinherit you 
if you don't obey me ? 

Da. Do ,/hat you please. Only, if I may beg a favour, 
leave me alone now. Before I start, I must finish two 
papers which, out of pity, I will leave behind to my 
countrymen. I beg of you again to leave me. 

Chrys. Wouldn't you prefer to turn me out ? 

Scene XYIII. — Yaler, Anton, Chrysander, Damis. 

Ya. How? Damis? Is it true that you have come to 
yourself once more ? That you renounce Juliane ? 

Chrys. Oh, Herr Yaler, you could not come at a more 
unlucky time for me. You strengthen him nicely in 
his obstinacy. You deserved, didn't you, that I should 
accommodate myself to your wishes ? To try to deceive 
me in such an impious way ! My son, don't oppose me 
any longer, or 

Da. Your threats are useless. I must show myself to 
foreign lands, which have as much right to me as my 
fatherland. And you don't want me to drag a wife about 
with me, do you ? 

Ya. Damis is right to insist on travelling. Nothing 
can be more beneficial to him in his circumstances. Let 
him have his way, and let me have Juliane, whom you 
have so solemnly promised to me. 

Chrys. Promised ? One need not keep one's word with 
liars. 

Ya. I have already assured you on my oath, that 
Lisette alone attempted this deceit ; without her we should 
have known nothing whatever of the document . . . . 



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[Act III. 



How fortunate it would have been had it never come to 
light ! It is the most cruel fortune that Juliane could 
have met with. How gladly would she sacrifice it, if she 
could thus obtain freedom for her heart ! 

Chrys. Sacrifice? Consider, Herr Valer, what that 
means. We merchants like to take a man at his word. 

Va. Oh, pray, do so here. Juliane resigns the docu- 
ment to you with joy. Begin the suit if you like ; the 
gain from it shall be entirely yours. Juliane considers 
this the smallest token of her gratitude. She thinks 
herself indebted to you for much more. 

Chrys. Come, come, she has always seemed full of 

gratitude towards me But what Valer, will you, 

as her future husband, say to this gratitude ? 

Va. Think better of me. I loved Juliane when she 
had no hopes of anything. I love her still, without the 
slightest selfish object in view. And, besides what sort 
of present, does one make an honest man, when one 
presents him with a long lawsuit ? 

Chrys. Valer, are you in earnest ? 

Va. Claim even more than the document ; half my 
fortune is yours. 

Chrys. God forbid that I should wish to have a farthing 
of your fortune. You mustn't think me so selfish. We are 
good friends, and the old agreement still holds. Juliane 
is yours. And if the document is to be mine, she is all 
the more yours. 

Va. Come, Herr Chrysander, confirm this to her your- 
self. How pleased she will be to be able to make us both 
happy. 

Chrys. If that is the case, Damis, as far as I am con- 
cerned, you can start this very night. I shall thank God 
when I have got such a fool out of the house again. 

Da. Go, if you please, and leave me alone. 

Va. And have I, after all, to thank you, Damis, for my 
happiness ? I do so with the sincerest affection, although 
I know that I am not the cause of your change of mind. 

Da. But the true cause ? (to Anton). Cursed 

fellow, couldn't you hold your tongue Please go, 

Valer. (While Chrysander and Valer are preparing to 
go, Anton stops Valer.) 



Scene XIX.] 



THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. 



107 



An. ( in a low voice). Not so fast ! How stands it with 
Lisette's dowry, Herr Valer? and with 

Va. Don't be uneasy; I will keep my word better 
than I promised. 

An. Hurrah ! Now the dove is caught. 

Scene XIX. — Damis (at the table), Anton. 

An. One word more, Herr Damis, I have to say to 
you. 

Da. Well? 

An. You are going to travel 

Da. Come to the point ! This is already more than 
one word. 

An. Well, then ; my discharge. 

Da. Your discharge? You suppose, perhaps, that I 
should take an ignorant ass like you with me ? 

An. You won't ? And I have my discharge then ? 
God be thanked ! Now receive yours, also, which shall 
consist in a little advice. I have witnessed your follies 
for more than three years now, and I have done foolishly 
enough myself during the time, since I know that a 
servant, be his master ever so foolish 

Da. Shameless idiot! Will you get out of my sight ! 

An. Well, well! He who won't be advised can't be 
helped either. Remain Herr Damis the Scholar for the 
rest of your life. (Exit.) 

Da. Go, I say, or ( Throws the book after him, and 

the curtain falls.') 



THE END. 



THE OLD MAID. 

(A COMEDY IN THEEE ACTS.) 

Non tu nunc hominum mores vides ? 

Dum dos fit, nullum vitiuin vitio vertitur. — Plantus. 



The Old Maid" was written ut Leipzig during the years 174G — 1748 



DRAMATIS PERS0N2E. 



Fraulein Oiildinn. 
Lelio, her cousin. 

Lisette, maid to Fraulein Ohldinn. 
Herr Oront. 
Frau Oront. 

Herr von Stamp, a captain. 
Peter, a cake selh r. 
Clitander, a friend of Lelio. 
Krausel, a poet. 
A Tailor. 
Herr Eehfuss. 



The scene is in a parlour. 



THE OLD MAID. 



ACT L 

Scene I. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Herr Oront, Frau Oront 

Herr Or. Ah ! What whims ! One never grows too 
old for thafc. And how old are you, then? How long is 
it since I saw you carried in the nurse's arms ? If it were 
fifty, one, two well, say some fifty years 

Fr. Ohl. Why not eighty at once ? If you take me to 
be as old as that why do you talk to me so much about 
marriage ? 

Herr Or. Oh, come now ! You are not too old ! Not 
at all too old. Four-and-fifty is just the right age for a 
marriageable girl. If the young things marry so young, 
it will follow that the children too 

Fr. Ohl. What nonsense about your four-and-fifty 
years 

Frau Or. (to Herr Or). Quite true. You are mistaken, 
my dear. You even cannot be as old as that yet. 

Herr Or. I should be glad if that were so. I and the 
century go along together. Have you anything to com- 
plain of in my age? Am I not still 

Frau Or. Well, well. Then you can't have known her 
as a child. 

Herr Or. Oh ! bother the child 

Fr. Ohl. If you won't believe me. my baptismal certifi- 
cate can prove that I shall only be fifty next Easter. 

Herr Or. What? You only just fifty? I thought 
you were who knows how old. Ah ! Then your time is 



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[Act I. 



not past yet. Sarah was ninety years old. And to judge 
from your face, I should certainly not have taken you for 
younger than 

Fr. Ohl. What? My face my face 

whoever does not like it 

Herb, Or. Who says that? Your face has its lovers 
still. Otherwise, would Captain von Stamp 

Fr. Ohl. What ? A von f Is he actually of noble birth ? 

Herr Or. Certainly ; indeed he is of one of the noblest 
families. He is in great favour with the king, who has 
graciously given him his discharge, since he had the mis- 
fortune to be incapacitated for further service during the 
last campaign. 

Fr. Ohl. Incapacitated ? No. I recollect now. I won't 
have him. Turn your attention to another. I can only 
pity him. 

Herr Or. But he will have no one but you. And do 
you desire to have a husband who is always on a campaign, 
and who can be with you for hardly two nights in the 
year ? Discharged officers are the best husbands ; if they 
can no longer show their courage against the enemy, they 
are so much the more manly in their behaviour towards 
their but I am going too far. You cannot Under- 
stand . 

Fr. Ohl. Oh, just fancy 

herr Or. Ah ! You do understand, then ? I think 

Fr. Ohl. I think you only want to make fun of me. 
Herr Or. Or else you of me. If I say you understand 
that won't suit you. If I say you don't understand that 
won't suit you either. I see well enough that your head 
is just as full of caprice as it is of years. Will you, or 
will you not? 

Fr. Ohl. Lord preserve us ! Must one get in a passion 
immediately? Calm him, Frau Oront, do. 

Frau Or. You must treat her with a little more mild- 
ness, my dear husband. You surely must know from my 
case how a woman feels when one says things of this kind 
to her for the first time. 

Fr. Ohl. ! the first time the first time. If 

I had wanted to marry 

Herr Or Then you don't want? 



Scene I.] 



THE OLD MATD. 



113 



Fr. Ohl. Good gracious ! You are really too violent. 
.... Can one make up one's mind on such important 
matters on the spot ? 

Herr Or. Yes, yes. One can and must. In the very 
first transport. If the confounded deliberation comes in, 
all is over at once. Thank God, deliberation is no fault of 
mine. Shall your handsome fortune go to smiling heirs ? 
It will last long in the hands of your spendthrift cousin. 
Get children of your own, and you know to whom you are 
leaving it. Through marriage you come into a high 
aristocratic family, you know not how. And do you want 
to go to your grave, then, without having tasted the divine 
delights of matrimony ? 

Fr. Ohl. Come now, my consolation would be that I 
had not been forced to endure its discomforts too. 

Frau Or. Oh ! They are tolerable through the enjoy- 
ment it brings us. And if a pair like my dear husband 
and myself meet, there is little to say about them. Is it 
not so, my dearest darling ? We 

Herr Or. Yes, it is true, my little treasure ; we have 

made life so sweet for one another, so agreeable we 

are a pattern of a happy marriage to our neighbours. 

Frau Or. We have been always one body and one 
soul 

Herr Or. We know nothing of strife or quarrelling. 
The wish of one has always been the will of the other 
.... Yes, my angelic little wife. 

Frau Or. That's true, my darling little husband. 

Fr. Ohl. Eeally such a pair quite make one's mouth 
water. 

Herr Or. And that now for nearly six and twenty 
years. 

Frau Or. So united, as loving as turtle doves 

Herr Or. For six and twenty years. 
Frau Or. You are mistaken, my dear ; only four-and- 
twenty. 

Herr Or. Eh ? What ? Eeckon it up. 

Frau Or. Very well ; four-and-twenty and no more. 

Herr Or. Why not ? From the year of Our Lord 
1724. I am positive about it ; I have written it on my 
cupboard door. 

VOL. II. I 



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[Act I. 



Frau Or. Cupboard — cupboard an excellent piece 

of cupboard love. I see clearly that your one pleasure is 
to contradict me. 

Herr Or. Gently ! You put down your own foolish 
disposition to me. Love of contradiction is your particular 
fault, and not your only one, to my sorrow. 

Frau. Or. My fault ? The senseless man ! 

Herr Or. I senseless? Senseless? What prevents 
me 

Frau Or. Do not on any account marry, my dear 
madam. That is what all men are like ; and the best of 
them is not worth a toss. 

Herr Or. What ? Not worth a toss ? Woman, I shall 
strike you. Not worth a toss ? 

Frau Or. Yes, yes. He is worth a toss. 

Herr Or. It's lucky for you that you retract ? From 
1724 to 1748 not more than four and twenty years? 
Are you mad ? 

Frau Or. Or are you ? Just count. 24 to 34 is ten years, 
34 to 44 makes twenty, 45, 46, 47, 48 are four years, 
which makes four and twenty years. 

Herr Or. You impious woman ! You only want to 
contradict. Just let me count: 24 to 34 are ten, 34 to 

44 make twenty ; 45, 46, 47, 48, are, are stop, I 

have made a miscalculation : 24 to 34, ten years, 34 to 44 
is also ten years, making twenty years : 45, 46, 47, 48 

curse it ! Now, Mistress Ohldinn, make up your 

mind at once. What will you do ? That only I may get 
rid of this confounded stickler ! 

Frau Or. You will work your own unhappiness if you 
obey him. For God's sake say no. 

Fr. Ohl. Ah, my dear Frau Oront, one can see your 
animus against your husband only too clearly. 

Herr Or. You bad woman ! So you want to bring my 
reward to nothing ; Speak, Mistress Ohldinn, speak. 

Fr. Ohl. Well then yes if 

Herr Or. Ugh ! What "if"? You can accept all the 
conditions joyfully. So I have your word, and my end is 
attained. Good. Another fifty reichsthalers won. 



SCEME III.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



115 



Scene II. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Frau Oront. 

Fr. Ohl. There he goes, and a half answer 

Frau Or. You were caught ! Such an unreasonable 
man ; give him an inch and he'll take an ell ! 

Fr. Ohl. Well, well, As God wills. 

Frau Or. God forbid! You won't do that, surely. I 
will run after the scamp, I'll run after him. 

Fr. Ohl. Don't take it ill of me. But you seek every 
opportunity of quarrelling with your husband. That is 
not at all nice conduct. 

Frau Or. Ah ! I see your head is turned too. You 
imagine all kinds of sugar-plums with a husband. Mis- 
fortune has for a long time spared you 

Fr. Ohl. Oh, tut, tut! People bring their unhappi- 
ness on themselves. The husband is master- 

Frau Or. And you seem to be sorely in need of one. 
Good-bye. Do as you like. 

Scene III. — Fraulein Ohldinn. Aftenvards Lisette. 

Fr. Ohl. The envious creature ! So Heaven will 
deliver me also some day. I quite tremble for joy. Oh, 
how hard that yes was. Thank God it is said. 

Lis. What sort of visit have you had again? Herr 
Oront wanted to borrow money, eh ? 

Fr. Ohl. The silly thinks that there is nothing to be 
found with me but that miserable money. 

Lis. Eh? He surely didn't bring you a lover? 
Though nowadays too lovers have turned into a kind of 

money-borrowers. That is but you are beyond such 

matters. And besides, marriage is a very hell 

Fr. Ohl. God forbid ! Are you thinking what you say, 
Lisette ? 

Lis. Only what you have said times without number. 
Alas, that no one will carry me off to hell ! I should never 
have had patience so long as you. And if you don't take 
steps soon it will be too late. 

Fr. Ohl. Too late, you silly creature ? How old am I, 
then? 

Lis. That is not a calculation for me. I can't count 
up to fifty. 

I 2 



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[Act I. 



Fr. Ohl. Your stupid mockery alone might make me 
do something which would be disagreeable to you and my 
cousin. 

Lis. Gently, then ! Gently ! I might end by making 
you desperate 

Fr. Ohl. In short, I am going to marry. Captain von 
Stamp has just proposed to me through Herr Oront. I 
have given him my acceptation, and I hope the matter 
will be settled this very day. 

Lis. What an incomparable dream ! It must have 
made you very happy last night. How do you lie when 
you want to have such dreams ? On your back ? Or on 
your stomach ? Or 

Fr. Ohl. Joking apart ! AY hat I have said is true. 
And I am going this very minute to put my bills and 
documents in order. 

Lis. In that you do quite right. For they are of more 
importance, I suppose, in the marriage than you 

Fr. Ohl. Silence ! You insolent thing ! 

Scene IV. — Lisette, afterwards Lelio. 

Lis. Oh ! What delightful news for her cousin ! I 
wonder whether he is in his room ? Herr Lelio ! Herr 
Lelio! Husband-hunting is an essential complaint of 
women, be they as young or as old as they may. Ah ! 
In fact, I find I am not quite healthy myself. Herr Lelio ! 

Le. What is it ? Well, Mademoiselle Lisette ! I 
should have thought, little fool, you might have taken 
the trouble to come to me in my room. 

Lis. Your humble servant ! That would be venturing 
too far into the enemy's camp. This is neutral territory. 
Here I can defy your assaults. 

Le. Ah ! He who will only venture the attack will 
carry you at all points. 

Lis. What a pity no one hears you, or I should thank 
you for your kind recommendation. But to business. I 
have a most extraordinary piece of new news to tell you. 

Le. How lucky that you come on the subject of news. 
I too have something of the very drollest to impart to you 
in that line. 



Scene V.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



117 



Lis. Mine is still droller, I expect. 
Le. Impossible. What will you bet ? 
Lis. Oh, bother betting ! I should get nothing out 
of you. 

Le. Eh ? You are silly ! Only wait till my cousin 
dies. Then-; — 

Lis. Oh, she intends to do a good deal before her 
death. 

Le. You speak as if you knew already what I was 
going to tell you. 

Lis. Eh ? Out with it then ! What is it ? 
Le. First let me hear your news. 

Lis. Well, listen, then. Your cousin 

Le. My cousin. 

Lis. Is going to marry. 

Le. Is going to marry. That is what I was going 
to tell you too. Where the deuce have you got it 
from already?' Only this moment Frau Oront told it 
to me, and promised me all possible assistance in frus- 
trating it. 

Lis. Oh, in determinations of this kind old maids are 
too obstinate. 

Le. But what the deuce will my creditors say to it ? 
They who have helped me in such a Christian spirit at 
twelve per cent., in the hope that one day 1 should be the 
sole heir of all her property. 

Lis. That is the creditors' affair. Why do you worry 
yourself about that ? 

Le. I am not troubled much about those who are 
already my creditors, but about those who might become 
so in future. What hopes shall I be able to hold out 
to them ? 

Lis. None more certain than your inheritance, other- 
wise you run the risk of having to pay them one day. 

Scene Y. — Lelio, Lisette, Peter (with a basket of cakes.) 

Pe. Hullo ! Good people ! Won't you buy to-day ? 

Lis. Nothing this time, Peter. 

Pe. Macaroons, tartlets, Bath buns, fritters ; nothing ? 
Lis. Nothing. No. 



118 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act L 



Pe. Nothing whatever. Herr Lelio for your sweet 
tooth ? Macaroons, tartlets, Bath bims, fritters. 

Le. Be off ; I have no money to-day. 

Pe. Pray buy one. Macaroons, tartlets, Bath buns, 
fritters. 

Le. I shall soon come in for a fortune. t If you will 
give me credit till then, I will take your whole basket off 
your hands. 

Pe. Ha, ha ! You are up to the same games as the 
captain. He would buy from me every day, if I would 
only wait till after his marriage for my money. But, my 
friends, such things are easy to eat, but hard to pay for 
when the taste is out of the mouth. 

Le. Who is your captain ? 

Pe. He lives in a three pair back. 

Le. But where ? 

Pe. Over there in the broad street. It is a little room 
with only one window. 

Lis. Well, don't you know enough yet ? The captain 
in the broad street, three pair up, in a little room at the 
back with only one window. 

Pe. Yes, yes. Quite right. That's he. 

Le. But what is his name, then, you fool. 

Pe. Oh, his name his name is wait 

I think I shall remember. His dog's name is 

Judas. It is a big tawny mastiff. I know that. But he, 
his name is von Whack — no. Von Kick — no. Ah ! 
Stamp, von Stamp. Captain von Stamp. 

Le. You know him, then ! 

Pe. Why not ? I have also the honour to know his ser- 
vant, too. For he is my mother's daughter's husband. And 
so, unless I am mistaken, we are actually brothers-in-law. 

Lis. Well, Peter, in that case you might do us a great 
service. 

Pe. Done ! If it brings me in anything, it is as good 
as done. Let's hear. (Puts doivn his basket.) 

Lis. Do you know whom Herr von Stamp wants to 
marry ? 

Pe. The first that con es, if only she has money. I 

believe he could take you. But 

Lis. Oh ! I shall take care to provide for myself else- 



Scene V.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



110 



where without that " but." Briefly, he wants to marry 
our old maid. 

Pe. Yes, he wants to 

Lis. Oh, and she wants it too. 

Pe. So much the better ! Then all is right ! And, in 
future I have one customer the more. 

Lis. Yes, fool, but we do not want it. (She takes hold o) 
the basket.) 

Pe. Well, then, nothing will come of it. 
Le. It is desirable that it should not, and then I should 
not lose my inheritance. 
Pe. Ha, ha, ha ! 
Le. What are you laughing at ? 

Pe. Ha, ha! Does your inheritance depend on a 
suitor ? It's good that I still have my macaroons ! . But 
what were you going to say to me, Lisette ? (lie sees her 
eating cakes). Oh, zounds ! You are a nice one ! Get 
away, cat ! I shall catch it from my mistress. She has 
counted out every one of these to me. (Places the basket on 
the other side.) 

Lis. Idiot! I want to taste. Perhaps I shall buy some- 
thing, if they are good. Now, just listen. Take yourself 
off with your wares to the captain. (Goes to the other side.) 

Pe. Couldn't you stay where you were, Lisette ? I can 
hear as well with that ear as this one (places the basket 
again on the other side). Well, what am I to do with him ? 
he won't buy anything of me. 

Lis. Couldn't you in some clever manner bring the con- 
versation round to his marriage 

Pe. In some clever manner ? Do you doubt that ? The 
deuce, I know such beautiful turns : for instance, he says, 
" I don't want any of your wares, Peter." Then perhaps 
I should say — yes, what was I going to say ? — yes, well, 
I should say, "None at all? God protect you;" and go 
my way again. 

Lis. Well, fool, and what, then, would you have said 
to him about the marriage? And you must not only 
do that, but you must also try to put our lady out of his 
head. And we will give you all necessary freedom to 
shame and slander her in every way, if that will help you 
at all. 



120 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IL 



Le. The idea would not be so stupid, but he who is to 
carry it out is so much the more stupid. 

Pe. Oh, no. You are mistaken, Herr Lelio. I have 
done something in this way before. Just to give you a 
little proof. Suppose you were the captain. "What?" 
I would say, "you want to marry? Who would have 
dreamed that? You who used to be such a despiser of 
marriage," — but no, that would not do. It is not true. 

He would have married a long ago. But then 

"What? You want to marry the old maid? — Well, that 
is not bad, she has heaps of money." 

Lis. Oh ! You would be a nice help to us ! Go, go ; 
I see well enough there is nothing to be done with 
you. 

Pe. Eh ? How is that ? Why, you haven't tried me 
yet ? But do you imagine it would be any use if I were to 
say, "You want to marry that old monkey- faced woman? 
Why, she looks as if she had lain in the grave three years 
already. She will carry on your noble race well. And, 
in confidence, they say she is a witch. Her riches, about 
which people make such a fuss, are nothing but red-hot 
coals, which she keeps in big pots behind the cellar door, 
and over which a huge black dog watches ; one with eyes 
of fire, with six rows of teeth, with a triple tail 

Lis. Oh ! God preserve us ! With a triple 

Fellow, you make one so frightened with your talk, that 
one is ready to die. ( Takes hold of the basket again.) 

Pe. Ha, ha ! And all that would be of no use with 
him. " Don't be alarmed," he would say. " I shall see 
how to make mysell master of the treasure. Just as in 
Silesia or Bohemia, when the peasant had buried his bits 
of property ever so deep " 

Lis. I have got a better idea. I am sure it will do. 

Pe. Well, what ? . . . . The devil ! are you at the basket 
again? I must hang it on my neck again. 

Lis. Don't be a fool, it will be too heavy for you. 

Pe. No, no. If I let it stand too long it might become 
too light. 

Lis. I know our mistress has never seen Herr von Stamp 
yet. I should think, if you were to pass yourself off for 
him 



SCENS II.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



121 



Le. I understand yon, Lisette. That is excellently 
planned. 

Pe. I understand nothing yet. 

Lis. Come away. We will discuss the matter in a 
safer place. Here we might be surprised. 



ACT II. 

Scene I. — Lisette, Lelio. 

Lis. Don't be afraid. I fully believe our trick will 
succeed. 

Le. I will hope so. Certainly I would let you benefit 
by it ; and perhaps would even marry you. 

Lis. Of that another time. But how firmly the 
marriage must be fixed in her mind you may see from 
this : she has immediately sent for a lace-seller, a dress- 
maker, a hair-dresser, and a poet. 

Le. What is the poet for ? 

Lis. As if marriage could go off without a song ! He 
is to make it in his own name, or in that of another, and 
she has put an old gulden by for him. 

Scene II. — Lisette, Lelio, Clitander. 

Cli. Your servant, Herr Lelio. How do you do ? Did 
our affair yesterday agree with you ? Have you had your 
sleep out ? Will you be at the club again to-day. Haven't 
you been to the coffee-house yet? How did you like 
the wine ? Didn't Valer pick out a spruce brunette ? 

Le. That is a host of questions, and you have not yet 
allowed me to answer your greeting. 

Cli. The deuce ! I find you two alone together again. 
Lelio? Lisette? No good can come of that. But what 
is the matter with you, Lelio ? You look quite — quite — I 
don't know what. You want cheering up. Come with 
me. Ah, by-the-by, it is lucky that I think of it : do 
you know who the girl was that met us in the garden 
yesterday ? Didn't you like her ? Let us go there again. 
Perhaps we shall meet her. 



'.22 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 

Le. Won't you tell me which question I f m to answer 
first ? Or shall I answer none at all ? 

Lis. Oh, we have no time just now to listen to 
your chatter, sir. 

Cli. Eh ? Could not that truth be rather more politely 
expressed ? Are your affairs very urgent ? Have you 
nothing new to tell me, Herr Lelio ? 

Le. Oh dear, yes. And truly a piece of news which 
touches me very nearly. 

Cli. Eeally ? But do you know yet that our friend. 
Clarissa is betrothed ? It was settled yesterday. 

Le. So you do not want to hear my news ? 

Cli. Tell it, tell it. I am uncommonly glad to hear 
anything new. Only yesterday 

Le. You are already beginning again on something 
else. I can't even get these five words out for you, " My 
cousin means to marry." 

Cli. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Le. Ah! If you were in my place you would not 
laugh. 

Cli. Ha, ha, ha ! You complain that I talk so much, 
and the other day I was with people who blamed me for 
speaking too little. Ha, ha, ha ! When, then, does one 
speak neither too much nor too little ? That is a good 
joke ! Ha, ha, ha ! But were you not going to tell me 
something new ? What was it ? 

Lis. If you only were not too much occupied with 
yourself you would have heard it long ago. His cousin 
means to marry. 

Cli. Is it certain already ? Lelio, you will manage 
that I shall be present at the marriage, won't you ? Has 
she bought the wine yet ? Is it good ? 

Le. If you wanted to act as a friend towards me, you 
would rather advise me how to frustrate this unlucky 
marriage. 

Cli. How so ? 

Le. Why, my inheritance will go to the deuce through 

it. 

Cli. Oh ! That is soon remedied. Get the inheritance 
given you in advance. Your cousin may then do as she 
likes. 



Scene III.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



123 



Lis. Herr Lclio, how stupid we must be. It is true. 
That is the best plan ; and we never hit on it. Hurrah 
for a quick wit. 

Cli. 0, my child, you are not the first to tell me that 
I am very happy in the advice I give. 

Lis. To be sure! Your advice has no more than the 
one defect, that it is very absurd. 

Cli. So ! At least I shall think that it might supply 
the material for a better. But where is your cousin ? I 
must of course, congratulate her on her excellent choice. 
Whom is she going to take ? 

Lis. You can ask her yourself. I hear somebody 
coming. No doubt it is she. Come, Herr Lelio, Peter 
might be in need of our instruction. 

Le. If you want to talk with my cousin, be so kind as 
to tease her well. 

Cli. I should have done that without being reminded. 
I am a master of biting and delicate satire. And if you 
like I will make it so bad that she shall burst with rage. 

Le. So much the better. 

Scene III. — Clitander, Fraulein Ohldinn. 

Cli. Mademoiselle — mistress — bride — Madame 

what the devil am I to call her ? Is it true, or is it not 
true, that you mean to marry ? 

Fr. Ohl. Yes, it is quite true. Who can go against 
his fate ? I assure you, Herr Clitander, there has been an 
extraordinary dispensation of Providence in this matter. 
I had thought of nothing so little as of a husband, and 
suddenly 

Cli. And suddenly the desire for one came upon 
you? 

Fr. Ohl. You may be sure that it has by no means been 
my doing. Marriages are made in heaven, and who would 
be so impious as to oppose them here. 

Cli. There you are right. The whole town, it is true, 
is laughing at you. But that is the fate of the pious. 
Don't mind that. A husband is a thoroughly useful piece 
of household furniture. 

Fr. Ohl. I don't know what the town should have to 



124 



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[Act IE 



laugh at. Is a marriage such a laughable thing. The 
impious, wicked town ! 

Cli. You do the town injustice. It does not laugh at 
your marrying, but that you did not marry thirty years 

ago. 

Fr. Ohl. Isn't that silly ? Thirty years ago ? Thirty 
years ago I was still a child. 

Cli. But still, already a tolerably marriageable one. 
For your sex has the privilege of retaining that appellation 
a long time. The deuce ! If I was in love with you 
I should still call you " my child," I suppose. But, 
Mademoiselle, I have said that without prejudice to my- 
self. Pray don't imagine that I am so. 

Fr. Ohl. I should be little proud of it. Such a wild, 
nighty, senseless 

Cli. Oh, good sense only comes with age. Thank 
your wrinkles if it has already taken up its abode with you. 

Fr. Ohl. My wrinkles ? Pray tell me through what 
misfortune I have come in your presence to-day ? My 

wrinkles ? I suppose I am to believe you rather 

than my mirror ? I am certainly the first bride to whom 
any one has uttered such base rudeness. 

Cli. Yet it would be no small reproach to me if I did 
not know how to treat a bride. But in you I meet with 
an exception. And I should be very culpable if I were 
to utter the smallest pretty phrase, the slightest gallant 
trifling to you. But I will do you a special kindness. 
If you will invite me to your wedding, I promise to teach 
you some new dances, a dozen or so love expressions for 
your bridegroom, and various tender glances which are 
now in fashion. For in all these three matters you cannot 
be otherwise than very poorly versed. I will also, to fill 
up the cup of my kindness, introduce you to some agree- 
able girls, good friends of mine from whom you can soon 
learn the usages of society. 

Fr. Ohl. They must be nice people who make acquaint- 
ance with you. They must certainly be girls who run 
after the men. 

Cli. Well, not a tithe of them has the gift of waiting 
so long as you. A man goes along his way. Every step 
he comes across a girl whom he could have. She who 



Scene III.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



125 



does not put herself a little forward, remains behind. And 
bo it has been with you. But moralising aside. I will earn 
gratitude at your hands and your bridegroom's. Let us 
see whether you can dance a minuet. 

Fr. Ohl. How much further do you mean to carry your 
nonsense ? 

Cli. Pray make no ceremony. You ought to be grateful 
to me for it. 

Fr. Ohl. That you should have an opportunity for 
mocking. 

Cli. The deuce ! You have a very pretty foot for 
dancing. (Lifts her skirt up a little.) 
Fr. Ohl. For shame ! I beg 

Cli. What ancient, obsolete words you use ! Shame 
has not been in use for more than a hundred years. Come ! 
We will first proceed with one thing at a time. How 
do you make a courtesy ? 

Fr. Ohl. Your servant ! So far I will not allow your 
mockery to go. (Makes a courtesy?) 

Cli. I see clearly I must attend to your deeds and not 
your words. The courtesy was not so bad. But raise your 
skirt a little. I cannot see what is going on under there. 

Fr. Ohl. It is true the skirt is, really, a little too long. 
I must at least have so much taken off. (Raises it a little. ) 

Cli. The devil ! What a foot ! What a pity it does 
not belong to a youthful body ! Just make one pas. 

Fr. Ohl. No, Herr Clitander, I must confess to you that 
dancing is not my forte, and my dislike to it is not small. 
Instead of taking a couple of firm natural steps (she takes 
two steps) one behaves affectedly and makes a senseless pas, 
(she makes a dancing step). What folly. 

Cli. But, upon my soul, the folly doesn't suit you ill. 
So you can dance already. And just as well as I can. 
Ah ! That looks promising. You can fly round with the 
rest on the evening of the wedding. 

Fr. Ohl. That can hardly be, and Captain von Stamp 
will certainly not ask it of me. 

Cli. What have you to do with that scoundrel ? What 
about Captain von Stamp ? If I once get him in my power 

1 will teach you to play with honest people, and 

not pay them 



126 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



Fr. Ohl. Gently, gently ! Perhaps you don't know yet 
that it is Captain von Stamp who is my bridegroom. 

Cli. That beggarly fellow your bridegroom? The 
miserable hound has owed me five and twenty ducats for 
the last three months, which I won from him at billiards. 
How did you come across him ? 

Fr. Ohl. Herr Oront, at whose house he lives, was the 
suitor's envoy. And I request you to speak a little more 
moderately of him. 

Cli. Eh? What? Listen, Mademoiselle, I will put 
your person under arrest. And the devil fetch me if he 
shall marry you until I have my money. 

Fr. Ohl. He will not withhold it from you 

Cli. Yes, indeed. If I were his only creditor ; but I 
will just say that there are quite as many of them as 
you, I, and he have hairs on our heads. 

Fr. Ohl. God preserve me ! Herr Oront didn't tell me that. 

Cli. I will go to him this moment. I will make it 
hot enough for him. He had better dare to deceive an 
honourable woman ! 

Fr. Ohl. Do not be so angry. Stay, I implore you. I 
will myself, if there is nothing else to be done, make the 
five and twenty ducats 

Cli. Let me go. Eather than that cursed fellow shall 
marry you, and give himself airs with your money, rather 

yes, rather will I bite at a sour apple myself, 

rather will I take the trouble upon myself and marry you. 
Good-bye for the present. 

Scene IV. — Fraulein Ohldinn (alone.) 

Fr. Ohl. Oh Heavens ! How is it with me ? Must all 
proposals of marriage that are made to me come to nothing ? 
This is the twelfth time ! But the captain is said to be 
such a pleasant man. Why, what harm is it, if he is a 
little in debt ? One can't take one's money into the grave. 
And who knows if it is as bad as Clitander makes out. 
Ah ! Dear Captain von Stamp ! it is settled, then, I keep him. 
And doesn't it come to the same thing whether I give my 
property to him or to my dissolute cousin? He may 
perhaps let me enjoy it with him ; but my cousin 



Scene VI.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



127 



Scene V. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Lisette, Herr Krausel, 
a Tailor. 

Lis. Mistress, I bring you two persons for whom you 
have sent : Mr. Tailor and Mr. Poet. 

Fr Ohl. (to the poet). Welcome, Mister Tailor! (To 
the tailor.) Have patience for an instant, my dear Mr. 
Poet ; I will just get rid of him first. 

Kr. What! To call me a tailor? What are you 
thinking of? Heavens, what an insult! To take a 
crowned poet for a tailor. 

Tai. Eh? What? To take an honest citizen and 
master craftsman for a poet ? For a idler of that sort ? 
Do you not consider that a libel ? 

Lis. Gently, friends, gently. She does not know you 
yet. 

Kr. What? I a tailor? 
Tai. What? I a poet. 

Kr. Let him make your poem for you, if he can. 
Adieu. 

Tai. Let him make your clothes for you, if he can. 
Adieu. 

Lis. Wait a moment. Fancy getting angry directly 
about a mistake. You are both honourable upright people, 
whom one cannot do without. 

Kr. To call a man who associates daily and nightly 
with the divine Muses a tailor ! That is unbearable ! 
Let me go ! (Exit.) 

Tai. Shall a man who has clothed the persons of princes 
allow himself to be stigmatised as a poet ? I understand 
my profession. There is no one who can say any evil of 
me. And I will certainly not bear abuse. We shall see ; 
we shall soon see. (Exit. ) 

Scene YI. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Lisette, and afterwards 
Krausel. 

Fr. Ohl. Are not they fools ! I can protest before 
heaven that I did not know them. 

Lis. Oh, the poet has his bread to get ; he will come 
back. Here we have him. 



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[Act If. 



Kr. The wisest gives way ; and I am he. I considered, 
as I was going out, that 

Lis. That a tailor can be obstinate, better than a 
poet 

Kr. That anger does not become a wise man. I thus 
forgive you your error. Only learn from it that there is 
more hidden in many a man than one can see. But what 
do you require ? In what can my ability serve you ? 

Fr. Ohl. I have resolved, under Providence, to marry. 
And, since I have heard that you can make a good verse, 
and since too, my bridegroom is of noble birth, and since I 
also should like to have a marriage-song, and since I don't 
know whether any one else might be so polite 

Kr. Sapienti sat. Yon have explained yourself clearly 
enough. The rest shall be my care. I will at once make 
you one with which you shall be pleased. Would you 
like one, per Thesin et Hijpothesin ? 

Fr. Ohl. Yes, yes. 

Kr. Or merely one per Antecedens at Consequens f 
Fr. Oh. Yes, yes. 

Kr. Choose. Choose. It is all the same to me. I 
will merely remind you provisionally that you will be 
pleased to give somewhat more for one per Thesin et Hy- 
poihesin. Times are dear. Meditation, too, has risen in 
price, and 

Fr. Ohl. I shall not let that be a consideration. Only 
see that it be neat and pretty. 

Kr. As true as I am an honourable poet it shall be a 
masterpiece. Shall the contents be of a religious cha- 
racter ? 

Fr. Ohl. Religious, religious ! At a wedding, I should 
think 

Kr. Or historical ? Mythological ? Playful ? Satiri- 
cal ? Or of a waggish character ? 

Fr. Ohl. , Waggish would, I should think, be 

Kr. Oh, excellent ! In waggishness is my strength. 
And for this purpose the best thing, 1 suppose, would be 
some innocent Q'wdlibet. Eh ? 

Fr. Ohl. As you think best. 

Kr. Yes, yes. An innocent Quodlibet will suit admir- 
ably. At the conclusion 1 can tack on a lively description 



Scene VI.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



129 



of the bride and bridegroom. For instance, I would de- 
scribe the bridegroom as a well-built handsome man, whoso 
majestic gait, whose fiery and ravishing eyes, whose im- 
perial nose, whose fine figure ■ 

Fr. Ohl. Oh, Lisette ! What a delightful man Captain 
von Stamp must be. Have you already seen him, sir ? 

Kr. Is he really like that ? What is his name ? 

Fr. Ohl. I believe you know him already. It is Cap- 
tain von Stamp. 

Kr. Von Stamp ? And your honoured name is 

Fr. Ohl. Ohldinn. 

Kr. Ohldinn ? Under your permission, to how many 
husbands is he whom you are now taking the successor ? 

Fr. Ohl. What a silly question ! He is the first. 

Kr. Oh, pardon me. I might have seen that at once 
by looking at you. It is true you are still in the bloom of 
your youth. 

Fr. Ohl. Do you hear, Lisette ? 

Kr. Ohldinn, Mademoiselle Ohldinn and Stamp, Herr 
von Stamp. Oh, what happy names ! They will give 
occasion for excellent thoughts ! Ohldinn, Stamp. What 
an excellent allusion I shall be able to make to coins of 
ancient stamp ! Old maids, I can say, are like coins of an 
ancient stamp 

Lis. Do you hear, mistress ? 

Fr. Ohl. Oh, my good man, your thoughts are very 
absurd. Old maids, old coins? I don't promise myself 
anything remarkable from you. 

Kr. Well, we will drop that idea if it does not please 
you. When do you wish to see the poem complete ? 

Fr. Ohl. Why, as soon as possible. 

Kr. Good, good. I shall be here with it in an hour at 
the farthest. 

Fr. Ohl. In an hour ! Oh, pray be a little longer. 
Otherwise I fear it might be too bad. 

Kr. Yes, if you will allow me, I will compose it here 
at once. Just let me have a room to myself for a little. 
At home my wife and children overburden my ear with 
noise. 

Fr. Ohl. Wife and children ? 

Lis. A poet with a wife and children ? 

VOL. II. K 



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[Act II 



Kr. That very Corinna, whom in my youth I made 
immortal by my songs, that very Corinna is now my wife. 
I have sung this evil around my neck myself, and there- 
fore I belong in reality to those great poets who, through 
their art, have been rendered unhappy. The wicked 
woman ! 'Tis true she lies at home sick unto death, but 
she has lain so for more than a week already, and will not 
make up her mind to die. Ah, my dear young ladies, it 
is certain that women are created for the unhappiness of 
the whole world ! Oh, the cursed sex ! 

Lis. Eh? You cursed scoundrel of a poet ! 

Kr. Oh, pardon me ! pardon me ! I was in my ecstasy. 
Whither shall I betake myself? Nam Musce secessum scri- 
bentis et otia qucerunt. 

Fr. Ohl. Oh, you can go into the next room here. 

Lis. But don't be frightened. You will meet a lot of 
fools in that room. 

Kr. How so ? 

Lis. Because there are a lot of mirrors there. Go. 
Kr. I don't see that. (Exit.*) 

Scene VII. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Lisette. 

Fr. Ohl. Do you now believe, Lisette, that I am in 
earnest ? But, good heavens, what will my cousin say to 
it ? He will tear his hair from his head when he hears 
of it. 

Lis. You are mistaken. I have already told him 

Fr. Ohl. Well ? 

Lis. As soon as he heard that Captain von Stamp was 
to have you, he became calm. " Captain von Stamp," said 
he, " is one of my best friends. I do not grudge it him. 
And I cannot blame my cousin for it ; I have already 
received many benefits from her " 

Fr. Ohl. What ? Did my cousin say that ? Oh, my 
dearest cousin ! Come, I must speak to him at once. For 
this he shall have a note for five hundred thalers from me 
on the spot. 

Lis. Only mind and give it him in such a way as not 
to make him blush for shame. 



Act III.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



131 



ACT III. 

Scene I. — Lisette, Peter (in an old uniform, with 
a moustache). 

Pe. Don't run like that, Lisette. I can't keep up with 
you. I am not used to the leg yet. 

Lis. Oh, what an incomparable captain! That's the 
sort of husband I should like to have. 

Pe. You are no fool. I fancy there are more girls 
with your taste. And I fear, I fear, though, I have dis- 
guised myself so much that your mistress will penetrate 
more deeply into my real character, and desire to keep me 
in spite of your trick. 

Lis. She would have to be mad, then. 

Pe. At any rate, madness of that kind would be nothing 
peculiar or new with old maids. I'll say this much, take 
care that you don't saddle me with her. I have a regular 
devil already at home. If the other one were to come as 
well, my place would be hot enough. 

Lis. Don't be afraid. To make matters the safer, 
Lelio will behave as if this union entirely pleased him. 
But if you act and speak as we have bidden you, and I 
now and then employ my eloquence, she must have the 
marriage demon incarnate in her if she does not become 
utterly disgusted with you. I have announced Herr von 
Stamp in your person to her already, and she will soon 
be here. 

Pe. But Lisette, Lisette, my head is swimming dread- 
fully. I only hope I shan't come in for a second wife, as 
the other man did for a box on the ear. 

Lis. Never fear if only you make it bad enough. Let 
us see. How will you play your part ? Just imagine I 
am my mistress. 

Pe. But you are not. 

Lis. Well, just imagire I am. 

Pe. If imagining is enough, just you imagine also 
how I would do it. 

K 2 



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[Act III. 



Scene II. — Herr Krausel (with a sheet of paper on which 
something is written), Lisette, Peter. 

Lis. Oh ! Here comes that confounded fellow to 
thwart our plans. Deuce take the poets ! 

Kr. Bene! (In thought, and reading his poem.') 

Pe. That is Krausel, isn't it? It is good that the 
scoundrel conies in my way. 

Kr. Well expressed. 

Lis. What is the matter? What is the matter, Peter ? 
Where are you off to ? 

Pe. The rogue made a purchase of me six months ago, 
and I haven't yet got a farthing from him for it. And the 
worst of it is, he has actually put my name into a street- 
song. To put an honest cake-seller into a street song ! 
Let me go ! Now I've got. the scamp. 

Kr. That is poetical. (Still in thought.) 

Pe. Yes, rascal, it is 

Lis. Peter ! Peter ! Consider, you are Captain von 
Stamp now. 

Pe. Yes, but I am Peter the cake-seller too. 

Lis. You are ruining the whole affair. Leave him 
alone ; let him go ! You can get him all in good 
time. 

Kr. That is what I call expressing oneself well. (Still 
in thought.) 

Lis. Come away. I will hear you go through your 
part somewhere else. 

Pe. Well, well. Lent isn't given. 

Scene III. — Herr Krausel (reads over his poem). 

Kr. Tlie hen is wont to thank 

The sprightly cock for his pains. 
That is what I call waggish. There is something 
behind it. 

Botten cheese is strong in smell % 

The mite it has ten feet. 
A delicious passage ! 

A bridegroom must bustle. 
Ha, there is quite an Anacreontic delicacy in that line. 



Scene IV.. 



THE OLD MAID. 



133 



A crinoline needs many a stitch. 
You playful wag ! A poet is a devil of a fellow ! 

A flea has large claws. 
I know something of natural history too. 

The ram doth call aloud ; 

Methinks he soon will bear a lamb. 
Here I am aiming at the freethinkers. People no doubt 
will understand that. 

Scene IV. — Lelio, Fraulein Ohldinn, Herr Krausel. 

Kr. Come, pray come ! I have finished ! I have 
finished! Oh, I have composed a wonderfully beautiful 
poem. I have in this, so to speak, surpassed myself. I 
could never have believed that I had such a gift for 
joking. Hitherto my strong point has been serious 
composition. Theologico-polemico-poetical subjects, espe- 
cially, run easily from my pen. But you surely have 
read the edifying comedy which I composed against 
the nobility. Ah ! that is a piece such as has hardly ever 
come on the boards. But to return to my song. Here it 
is, my dear Fraulein Ohldinn. You can now have it 
printed under whatever name you please. 

Fr. Ohl. Very well. But I must first show it to Herr 
von Stamp. Men of birth are very fastidious in such 
matters. He might perhaps find something to alter here 
and there. 

Kr. That is as you please. Only would you be so 
good as to take into consideration together, one verse 
which, not without an object, I have worked in ? It is 
written for the meditation of all Christian hearts. 

Fr. Ohl. Which ? 

Kr. Here, on the other page. 

" I am now smelting miseriam." 

Fr. Ohl. What is that ? Miseriam f 

Kr. Yes, poets are very bashful. They don't liko 
saying too plainly where the shoe pinches them. But I 
have good hope that your kind generosity will soon help 
your ignorance on this point. 

Le. Don't you understand yet, cousin ? 

Fr. Ohl. No, indeed. 



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LESSIXG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III 



Kr. Oh pray, sir, be kind enough to spare me from 
a clearer explanation, which would cost me too many 
blushes. (Holds his hat before his face.) 

Le. Don't be afraid. My cousin will not fail to show 
herself grateful to you. 

Fr. Ohl. Was that it ? Yes, yes, sir, I will not forget 
you, do not fear. 

Kr. Oh ! It means nothing. Do not believe that I 
am so selfish. Honour, honour alone, is that which I seek 
through my poetry. For our work cannot be repaid us in 
that way. But what would you think that I have often 
taken for such a poem ? 

Le. Poets usually take what they can get. I don't 
know how you manage. 

Scene V. — Lelio, Frauleix Ohldixx, Herr Krausel, 

LlSETTE. 

Lis. Eejoice, my dear lady ; your worthy bridegroom, 
Captain von Stamp, will be with you in an instant. He 
is already on the stairs with all his charms. The good 
man has to crawl up on all fours. The wooden leg, 
the tattered uniform, the warlike moustache, are plain 
marks of a hero who has sacrificed much for his country's 
sake. Oh, how enviable you are ! Indeed, you have not 
waited in vain. What is long in coming is good when 
it comes. 

Fr. Ohl. Are you mad ? Send him off. It must be a 
beggar. 

Lis. No, no. According to your description it must 
be he himself. 

Kr. How can you object so much to his external 
appearance ? Why, you took me too for a tailor. And 
I must once more read you the lesson, that there is often 
more concealed in a man than one sees in him. 

Lis. He already sighs for you from the bottom of his 
heart, and swears enough to bring the house down, 
because no one goes to meet him. 

Fr. Ohl. And can that be the Captain ? 

Lis. Yes, yes. Now there you see him himself with 
body and soul. 



Scene VI.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



135 



Scene VI. — Peter, Lisette, Fraulein Ohldinn, Lelio, 
Krausel. 

Pe. (dressed as ahi ve). What the devil ! Is this the 
way they treat a bridegroom here ? Not so much as a 
dog or a cat comes to meet me. What the deuce do they 
take me for ? Do they know who I am ? 

Le. Oh, my most worthy Captain, compose your- 
self. 

Pe. What have I to do with you? Is that your 
cousin ? 
Le. Yes. 

Lis. Sir, you are very impolite, in a strange house. 

Pe. In a strange house? I suppose you don't know 
yet that I can instantly become lord of this same house. 
I have taken the liberty, Mademoiselle, of offering to you 
the honour of becoming my spouse. You would be mad 
if you didn't snatch at it with might and main. 

Fr. Ohl. Oh Lord ! Lelio ! 

Kr. Wasn't I afraid of the fellow ! I thought, on my 
soul, it was Peter. How much alike men sometimes are 
to one another. 

Le. My dear cousin, do not dwell on his somewhat 
too unsophisticated expressions. A warrior is accustomed 
to use such phrases. 

Pe. That is true. I am one of the old German school. 
And the wife I take must not be a hair's-breadth different. 
Are you so ? 

Lis. It is lucky for you that she isn't ; otherwise she 
would have turned you out of doors already with all 
possible politeness. 

Fr. Ohl. Hush, Lisette. Don't make him angry. 

Lis. What? I really believe you are still going to 
take his part. You must be wrong in the head, Captain, 
if you think my mistress is going to take such a mad 
cripple for her husband. I am a poor girl, but if you 
were buried in gold up to the ears I wouldn't look at 
you over my shoulder. Ha, ha ! What a charming 
figure ! A wooden leg, a moustache through which one 
can see neither nose nor mouth 

Pe. Stop, you chatterbox! Am I going to take you, 



136 



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[Act III. 



or your mistress ? If I please her and I do please 

her, I know. Don't I ? 

Fr. Ohl. Yes but 

Pe. But but but ! If you were already 

my wife, I would make you stop that silly word. How 
much does your property amount to? If it isn't three 
times as great as my debts 

Lis. Your property probably consists of them. 

Le. Your debts, Captain, would be the smallest hin- 
drance to the business. But I see that my cousin, through 
your behaviour 

Fr. Ohl. Don't give him too strong a rebuke. 

Lis. (whispers to Peter). Make it strong, or she will still 
bite at the bait. (Aloud.) Now, sir, what do you want ? 

Scene VII. — Peter, Lisette, Fraulein Ohldinn, Lelio, 
Krausel, Herr Eehfuss. 

Reh. You will not take it ill, my dear Mademoiselle 
Ohldinn 

Lis. No, no, my good friend, you have come to the 
wrong person. This is Mademoiselle Ohldinn. 

Reh. You will not take it ill, my dear Mademoiselle, if 
I 

Pe. My friend, if you have anything to say, make it 
short. Must the fool needs disturb us in our important 

negotiation ? 

Reh. My dear Mademoiselle, I have been informed by 

Herr von Stamp 

Pe. From whom ? From me ? 

Reh. No, no. Excuse me, from Captain von Stamp ; that 
he is going in a few days to marry Mademoiselle Ohldinn. 
Lis. Cursed mishap ! 
Pe. What did I say to you? 

Reh. Now, since the Captain owes me some hundred 
thalers on a bill 

Pe. What did I owe you ? Are you crazy ? 

Reh. I am speaking of the Captain. The bill is due to- 
day, and it would be in my power to have him arrested. 

Pe. Have me arrested ? 

Lis. Be silent, Peter, or wo are discovered. 

Reh. But since he told me that his bride would pay 



Scene VII.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



137 



the debt for him, I desired to learn whether Mademoiselle 
Ohldinn 

Fr. Ohl. Captain, I don't know how you could make so 
; many debts in anticipation on the strength of my word. 
If you are in debt 

Re. No, Mademoiselle, I am speaking of Captain von 
Stamp. 

Fr. Ohl. Yes, and there he is. 

Pe. Yes, yes, it is I, my friend. Do not be anxious 
about the payment of your bill ; I will satisfy you as I 
j am an honest man. 

Keh. You are much too good, sir. I do not remember 
that you owed me anything. 

Pe. Yes, yes. I owe you several hundred thalers. 
1 Wasn't it five hundred ? 

Ke. No, no. Captain von Stamp owes me nine hundred. 
But you 

Pe. Oh, that is too much to take on oneself for another. 
Well, well. I owe nine hundred thalers. And you, my 
dear wife, will pay them, won't you ? 

Keh. I don't know, sir, whether you take me for a fool ? 

Le. And I don't know whether you take all of us for 
fools. You say the Captain owes you so and so, and when 
the Captain admits it, you want to deny it again. What 
does that mean ? 

Pe. Yes, yes, I owe him nine hundred thalers. 

Keh. No, sir, I couldn't take a farthing from you. 

Pe. You shall have it in full. 

Reh. You owe me nothing. 

Pe. Will you have patience for a week at most ? 

Reh. Are you the Captain ? 

Pe. The deuce ! What is that to you? Provided I 
am ready to pay ; I may or may not be he. And, briefly, I 
I am he. As surely as I have borrowed of you nine hundred 
thalers, so surely will I return them, with interest. 

Reh. But why, sir, do you acknowledge the debt of 
another ? 

Pe. Oh ! I am an upright man. What I owe, I pay. 

Lis. Doubtless, my good man, you have made a mis- 
take in the names. I believe there is another captain of 
this name here 



138 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



Pe. Yes, yes, quite right. There is another who has the 
same name. He is my father's elder brother's daughter's 
husband ; and we are brothers' children. 

Fr. Ohl. My friend, you will do well to bring forward 
j^our claim at another time. If he whom I am going to 
marry is really in your debt, no doubt a way will be 
found of paying. But I must say I don't know what I 
am to think of this. 

Pe. Think what you please. And you, my friend, can 
pack yourself off, or 

Eeh. I beg you not to take it ill 

Lis. No, no ; we won't take it ill, if you go. Be off 
now ! (Exit.) 

Scene VIII. — Lelio, Lisette, Peter, Krausel, 
Fraulein Ohldinn. 

Pe. The cursed fellow ! Now, how far had we got, 
my treasure ? Oh, yes ; as far as the pr >perty. But 
first there are various points which you must consent to. 
I have just put them down briefly. (Takes a piece of 
paper from his pocket.) First of all, the bride promises, 
since she is of middle rank, and the bridegroom is the 
high well-born gentleman, Captain von Stamp, sprung from 
an ancient noble stock, at all times to render her future 
husband due reverence, and never to address him other- 
wise than as " your grace." Well? Do you promise that? 

Fr. Ohl. But 

Pe. You mustn't use that confounded word to me. 
Who has to rule ? The husband or the wife ? J , or you ? 

Fr. Ohl. Excuse me, but we are not yet husband and 
wife. 

Pe. Oh ! What we are not, we may become. Next, 
the bride promises, since she is of middle rank, and the 
bridegroom is the high and well-born gentleman, Captain 
von Stamp, sprung from an ancient noble stock, to place 
all her money in his hands, to be disposed of as shall 
please him. Well ? Do you promise that ? 

Lis. Of course that is one of the most important points. 

Fr. Ohl. One might well concede that to a man of 
sense. But 



Scene IX.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



139 



Pe. Enough. I don't want to know the rest. I am a 
man of sufficient sense. Thirdly, the bride promises, since 
she is of middle rank, and the bridegroom is the high and 
well-born gentleman, Captain von Stamp, sprung from an 
ancient noble stock, that the two children illegitimately 

born to him Well, on that point we will talk in 

private. For no one need know of it but you. Fourthly, 
the bride promises, since she is of middle rank 

Kr. Excuse me for interrupting you. Would you not 
be so good as to allow your most worthy prospective consort 
to show you the poem which I have made on your — God 
grant that it may soon take place — your wedding ! I have 
no time to wait any longer and 

Pe. Where is it ? A V here is it? 

Fr. Ohl. Here. (She gives it to him.) 

Pe. What rubbish is this ? I see from the title that it 
is good for nothing. Are you not aware that I am Lord 
of the Manor and High Sheriff of Nottingham, Beggarby, 
Shieldbury and Poorcaster ? All that must be put in too. 
Also that I have served for sixteen years under the French, 
twelve under the Austrians, nineteen under the Dutch, 
seventeen under the English, and twenty-two more or less 
under the Saxons Oh, the deuce ! I am lost 

Scene IX. — Lelio, Liseite, Peter, Krausel, Fraulein 
Ohldinn, Herr Oront, Frau Oront, Yon Stamp. 

Le. Oh, what cursed ill-luck ! 
Lis. Now we are aground. 

Fr. Ohl. You come at the right moment, Herr Oront. I 
owe you so far small thanks for having burdened me with 
Herr von Stamp. 

Stamp. How, Mademoiselle? Do you already dislike 
me, before I have had the pleasure of speaking to you ? 

Fr. Ohl. You, sir ? Why, you have just this moment 
stepped unknown into the room. How should I have to 
complain of you ? No, I refer to Captain von Stamp. 

Pe. She means me. She means me. It is a slight 
mistake in names. 

Herr Or. What have you to do with the fellow ? This 
is Captain von Stamp whom I now bring to you. 



140 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



Fr. Ohl. What? So they attempted to deceive me. 
Ha, ha ! My dear cousin. 
Le. Cursed luck ! 

Stamp. I believe another has been playing my part 
here. Who are you, you good-for-nothing 

Pe. Captain von Stamp I am not ; but 

(Takes off hi* moustache and wooden leg) but 

Stamp. I do believe it is Peter. 

Kr. Oh Lord! Yes, yes, it is Peter. I thought as 
much. I thought as much. What will become of me ? 

Stamp (to Peter). Stop, gallows bird ! 

Pe. (to Krausel). Stop, gallows bird ! 

Stamp. What does this mean? To misuse my name 
thus ! For whom was this deception intended ? 

Pe. (to Krausel). What does this mean? To mis- 
use my patience thus ! When will you pay for my 
pastry ? 

Stamp (to Peter). Answer, you dog ! 

Pe. (to Krausel). Answer, you dog ! 

Kr. Oh that I was safe out of this ! 

Pe. Oh that I was safe out of this ! 

Stamp (to Peter). I'll throttle you, fellow! Confess 
at once, what was the purpose of this disguise ? 

Pe. (breaks away and turns at Krausel). I'll throttle 
you, fellow ! Confess at once, for what purpose did you 
put me in a street-song ? 

Kr. Oh ! It is getting too hot to stay here. Good- 
bye, good-bye ! (Buns out.) 

Pe. (runs after him). Ha, ha ! You shan't escape me. 

Stamp. And you shan't escape me. 

Scene X. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Lelio, Lisette, Von Stamp, 
Herr Oront, Frau Oront. 

Le. Stop, Captain ; what has happened is my doing. 
You ruin me by your marriage. And could you blame me 
for doing all in my power to frustrate it ? 

Stamp. I should be very sorry if I were to ruin you. 
No, Lelio, if you will not stand in my way 

Herr Or. Oh ! How can he stand in your way, pro- 
vided she will have you ? and she will. 



Scene X.] 



THE OLD MAID. 



141 



Frau Or. It is true. Mistress Ohldinn, why should 
you trouble yourself about a man who can play you such 
a trick ? 

Le. So ? Who, then, was it, Madam, who, promised me 
her assistance in it, a while ago ? 

Frau Or. Ah ! A while ago I had fallen out with my 
husband. 

Le. And now ? 

Frau Or. We are reconciled again. A pair of honest 
married people must quarrel a hundred times a day, and a 
hundred times be reconciled again. 

Le. Mistress cousin, sooner than agree to your marriage, 
I will myself claim your hand. For 1 believe I have the 
first claim on you 

Fr. Ohl. What? 

Lis. What? 

Fr. Ohl. You might have had this idea earlier. We 
have been in the house together for more than ten years. 

Stamp (takes Lelio aside). A word in confidence. Why 
won't you let me share your property ? I believe there 
will be enough for both of us. As her husband I should 
get possession of it. And I assure you, you shall enjoy 
it more at my hands than at hers. Yes, I promise you, 
even, to make no claim on that which remains when she 
dies. My debts now oblige me to take this step. Do not 
oppose me any longer, and we can live as firm friends. 

Fr. Ohl. May we not hear what you are saying there 
so confidentially ? 

Le. Oh, it was nothing. The Captain has shown me 
that I am wrong in wishing any longer to stand in the 
way of your happiness. I give my consent to everything. 

Fr. Ohl. Ah ! You are an honourable man. And I 
assure you that your concurrence contributes in no small 
degree to the pleasure with which I now offer the Captain 
my hand. 

Stamp. You make us happy, Lelio. 

Lis. (whispers). But, Herr Lelio 

Le. (whispers). Never mind, Lisette. The fun is going 
to begin now. 

Fr. Ohl. But, Lisette, I have a word to say to you. We 
must part. You can go where you please. For I know 



142 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act TIL 



well that you are at the bottom of all this buffoonery, and 
that you, and you alone, led my cousin astray. 
Lis. I! 

Stamp. Oh, my dearest Mademoiselle, let me intercede 
for the poor girl. Pray keep her. 

Fr. Ohl. No, no. She must go. She must go. 

Stamp. Grant me this, the first favour I ask. 

Fr. Ohl. No, no. It is not right. It is not right. 

Stamp.^ Ah, it is quite right. Especially with people 
of rank like ourselves. 

Scene XI. — Fraulein Ohldinn, Lisette, Von Stamp, 
Herr Oront, Clitander. 

Cli. Do I find you all together here, my children? 
My dear Captain, I come to wish you happiness on your 
marriage. I have been looking for you everywhere. 

Stamp. Have you, perchance, brought my five-and- 
twenty ducats with you ? 

Cli. Oh, you can forget them, now you have met with 
such good fortune. 

Fr. Ohl. You owe them to him ? You told me quite 
another story just now. 

Cli. No, no. You cannot have understood me rightly. 
He won them from me at billiards the other day. 

Herr Or. Well, then, all is settled. You, Miss bride, 
will be so kind as to give us a little banquet this evening, 
and, if possible, to make arrangements for the wedding to 
take place this week. 

Cli. Oh, that is excellent. I could not have come at 
a more opportune time. Come, come. To the banquet, 
Lelio ! To the banquet, Herr von Stamp ! Lelio, take 
Frau Oront. I will take your cousin. 

Stamp. And so, Lisette, remains for me. 

Herr Or. A bad omen I 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 

(A COMEDY IN THEEE ACTS.) 



The 1 Woman-hater ' was written at Leipzig during the years 
1746-1748, but was retouched afterwards at various times. 



DRAMATIS PERSONS. 



WUMSHATER. 

Laura, his daughter. 

Valer, his son, suitor of Hilaria, 

Hilaria, in boy's clothes, under the name of Lelio. 

Solbist, an advocate. 

Leander, suitor of Laura. 

Lisette, maid-servard. 




THE WOMAN-HATER. 



ACT I. 



Scene I. — Wumshater, Lisette. 

Wu. Where can I find the rascal ? Joliann ! Johann ! 

These confounded women ! The women 

have involved me in a lawsuit, and it will bring me to a 
premature grave. Who knows why Herr Solbist is coming 
to call on me ? I am all impatience to see him. I hope we 
have not received an unfavourable judgment again. Would 
that I had rather been three times hanged than three times 
married Johann ! Don't you hear me ? 

Lis. {enters). What are your orders ? 

Wu. V\ hat do you want ? Did I call you ? 

Lis. Johann is gone out ; what is he to do ? Cannot I 
do it? 

Wu. I do not wish to be served by you. How often have 
I told you already to spare me the annoyance of seeing 
you ? Stay in your place, in the kitchen, and with my 
daughter Johann ! 

Lis. You hear what I say ; he is not there. 

Wu. Who told him, then, to go out, just when I want 
him Johann ! 

Lis. Johann ! Johann ! Johann ! 

Wu. Now then ? What are you screaming for ? 

Lis. He won't hear your shouting alone three streets off. 

Wu. Ugh ! What a woman ! 

Lis. I like that ! One spits at toads and not at human 
beings. 

VOL. II. L 



146 



lessing's DRAMATIC works. 



[Act I. 



Wu. Yes, well As soon as you and the likes of 

you reckon yourselves among human beings, I feel inclined 
to quarrel with Heaven for having made me one. 

Lis. Quarrel, then. Perhaps it already repents of not 
having made a post of you. 

Wu. Out of my sight ! 

Lis. As you order. 

Wu. \\ ill you do so at once ? Or must I go ? 
Lis. I shall have the honour of following you. 
Wu. I could go mad. 
Lis. (aside). He is insane already. 

Wu. Has not Herr Solbist, my lawyer, been here 
yet? 

Lis. Johann, no doubt, will tell you. 
Wu. Has my son gone out ? 
Lis. Ask your Johann. 

Wu. Is that an answer to my question? I want to 
know whether Herr Solbist has been here yet ? 

Lis. You do not wish to be served by me, you know. 

Wu. Answer, I say. 

Lis. My place is in the kitchen. 

Wu. Stay, and answer first. 

Lis. My business is only to attend to your daughter. 

W T u. You shall answer. Has Herr Solbist 

Lis. I will spare you the annoyance of seeing me. 
{Exit.) 

Scene II. — Wumshater, Yaler. 

Wu. What a creature !..... .1 will, this very day, 

turn the whole pack of women out of my house ; even my 
daughter. She may look after herself. .... Good, good, 

my son, that you come. I have just been asking for you. 

Ya. How happy I should be if I dared to think that 
you had wished to anticipate my request. May I flatter 
myself that I have at last received from you the permis 
sion I have so often sought ? 

Wu. Oh ! You are beginning about that vexatious 
matter again. I)o not grieve your old father, who, 
until now, has considered you the only comfort of his old 
age. There is surely time enough yet. 

Va. No, dearest father, there is not much time. I 



Scene II.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



147 



have received letters to-day which oblige me to go back 
again as soon as possible. 

Wu. Well, go, then, in God's name ! Only obey me in 
this : don't marry. I love you too much to give my con- 
sent to your unhappiness. 

Va. To my unhappiness ? What different ideas we 
must have of happiness and unhappiness ! I shall consider 
it the greatest unhappiness which could befall me, if I 
have to remain any longer without a person who is the 
most precious in all the world to me. And you 

Wu. And I shall consider it the greatest unhappiness 
which could befall you if I see you follow your blind 
impulse. To consider a woman the most precious ob- 
ject in the world! A woman? But the want of expe- 
rience excuses you. Listen ; do you regard me as a true 
father ? 

Va. I should be sorry if in this case my obedience 

\\ u. You are right to plead your obedience. But have 
you ever repented of your obedience to me ? 
V A. Never, hitherto ; but 

A\ u. But you fear you will repent if you obey me in 
this also ? Eh ? But if it is the fact that I am a true 
father, if it is a fact that I unite prudence and experience 
with my fatherly affection, your fear is very unjust. 
People believe the unfortunate man whom storm and waves 
have cast on the shore, when he relates to them the 
terrors of the shipwreck ; and he who is prudent learns 
from his story how little the treacherous waters are to be 
trusted. All that such an unfortunate man has expe- 
rienced at sea, I have experienced in my three marriages. 
And will you not learn from my mishaps ? I was just as 
ardent, just as thoughtless, at your age, as you are. I 
saw a girl with red cheeks ; I saw her, and resolved to 
make her my wife. She was poor 

Va. Oh, father, spare me the repetition of your history. 
I have heard it so often 

Wu. And you have not yet profited by it ? ... . She was 
poor, and I also had little. Now picture to yourself what 
trouble, anxiety, and vexation a man just commencing 
business, as I was then, meets with, if his hands are 
empty to begin with. 

L 2 



148 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act I. 



Ya. My bride, however, is anything but poor. 

Wu. Listen to me ! In my difficulties, I could have no 
recourse to my relations. Why? They had proposed that 
I should marry a rich old widow, by which course I 
should have received immediate help in my business. So 
I offended them when I fell in love with a pretty face, and 
preferred to love happily than live happily. 

Va. But in my marriage this can 

Wu. Patience. The worst of it was that I loved her 
so blindly, that I went to all possible expense on her 
account. Her immoderate love of display brought me 
numberless debts. 

Va. Do, father, spare me this unnecessary story, now, 
and tell me shortly, if I may hope ■ 

Wu. I tell it merely for your good .Do you 

suppose that I could have extricated n^self from my 
many debts, if Heaven had not been so benevolent as to 
remove the cause of my ruin after the space of a year ? 
She died ; and she had hardly closed her eyes, when mine 
were opened. Whichever way I looked, I was in debt. 
And just imagine into what a rage I fell when, after her 
death, I learned her cursed infidelity. My debts began to 
press with twofold force when I perceived that I had con- 
tracted them for love of a good-for-nothing, to please an 
infernal, confounded hypocrite. And are you sure, my 
son, that it will not also be thus with you ? 

Va. I can be as sure of this as I am convinced of the 
love of my Hilaria. Her soul is much too noble, her heart 

much too upright 

Wu. Come, come, I don't want a panegyric on a syren, 
who knows how to keep her ugly scales under the water. 
If you were not my son, I should laugh heartily at your 
ssiniplicity. In truth, you have the making of a nice 
husband in you ! A noble soul, an upright heart, in a 
female body ! And even, as you tell me, in a beautiful 
female body. But it comes, after all, to the same thing, 
whether they are beautiful or ugly. The beautiful 
woman finds lovers, and men who will steal away your 
honour, everywhere, and the ugly woman seeks for them 
everywhere. What can you answer to this ? 

Va. Two things. Either it is not certain that all girls 



Scene III.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



140 



are alike false, and in this case I feel sure that myllilaria 
is among the exceptions ; or else it is certain that a 
faithful wife is only a creature of the imagination, which 
never has existed and never will exist ; and in this case I, 
as well as anyone else, must — — 

W u. Fie, fie ! For shame, for shame ! But you 

are joking. 

Va. Truly not. If a wife is an unquestionable evil, 
she is also a necessary evil. 

Wu. Yes, an evil which our folly makes necessary. 
But how glad would I be to have been foolish if, on that 
account, you could be less so ! Perhaps, too, this would be 
possible if you would carefully consider my experiences. 
Listen. So when my first wife was dead, I tried my luck 
with a rich, and somewhat elderly 

Scene III. — Lelio, Wumshater, Valer. 

Va. Come, Lelio, come. Help me to persuade my 
father to stand in the way of my happiness no longer. 

Wu. Come, Herr Lelio, come. My son has got his 
marriage-attack. Help me to bring him to his senses. 

Le. Oh ! For shame, Yaler, be open to reason. You 
have heard often enough from your father that marriage 
is a ridiculous and senseless affair. I should think you 
ought to be convinced by now. One may well believe a 
man who has tried it with three wives, that women are 
all all women. 

Ya. Is that how you take my part ? Your sister will 
be much obliged to you. 

Le. I take your part more than you think ; and my 
sister herself would not speak otherwise were she present. 

Wu. Yes, I too should imagine so : for if it is true that 
girls do possess anything resembling reason, they must 
necessarily be convinced of their own detestableness. It 
is as clear as day ; and you only cannot see it, because 
love keeps your eyes shut. 

Le. Oh, sir, you speak like reason itself. You have 
quite converted me in the short time during which I have 
been with you. Formerly women were not altogether 
objects of indifference to me. But now .... yes, I ought 



150 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act L 



to be your son, Herr Wumshater ; I would propagate the race 
of women-haters rarely ! My sons should all be like me ! 

Va. I don't object to that. Such women-haters at any 
rate would not let the world die out. 

Le. That would be silly enough. Why, wouldn't the 
women-haters, then, die out with the rest? No, no, 
Valer, we must be mindful, as far as possible, of the pre- 
servation of such excellent men. Eh? 

Wu. That is in some degree true. Yet I would rather 
see my son let others be mindful of it. I am sure that 
the world will not miss his contribution. Why should he 
fur the sake of an uncertain posterity make his life 
miserable ? And, besides, it is a very poor joy to have 
children if one must have as much trouble with them 
as I have had. You see, my son, how I am interested in 
your affairs. Compensate me, by your obedience, for the 
vexation your mother caused me. 

Le. She must have been a very bad wife, eh ? 

Wu. As they all are, dear Lelio. Haven't I told you 
the story of my life yet ? It is a piteous thing to hear. 

Va. Oh, spare him that. He has had to hear it more 
than ten times already. 

Le. I, Valer ? You are mistaken. Do tell it me, Herr 
Wumshater, I beg you. I am sure I shall be able to draw 
many a lesson from it. 

Wu. I like that. Oh, my son, if you too were of the 
same mind ! Well, listen I have had three wives. 

Le. Three wives ? 

Va. Don't you know that yet ? 

Le. (to Valer). Oh, be quiet, do ! .... Three wives ! 
Then you must possess a real store of varied experiences. 
I only wonder how you ever were able to overcome so 
successfully your hatred of women three times. 

Wu. One cannot be wise all at once by oneself. But 
if I had had a father such as my son has in me, a father 
who would have withheld me from the brink of ruin 

through his example Truly, my son, you do not 

deserve such a father 

Le. Oh, tell me, do, first of all, which of your bad 
wives was Valer's mother? Surely it was the best of 
them ? 



Scene III.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



151 



Wu. The best? 

Le. Of the bad, I mean. 

Wu. The best of the bad f . . . . The worst, deai 
Lelio, the very worst. 

Le. Well, now ! So she didn't take after her son at 
all ? Oh, the degenerate mother ! 

Va. Why do you want to pain me, Lelio? I love my 
father, but I have loved my mother too. My heart is rent 
when he does not leave her at peace even in her grave. 

Wu. My son, if you take it in that way .... well, 
well. I will tell you the story afterwards, Herr Lelio, 
when we are alone. You cannot possibly imagine how 
selfish, how quarrelsome 

Va. You wish to tell it him when you are alone, so I 
must go. 

Wu. Well, well, stay here. I won't say any more. I 
could not have imagined that one could be so prejudiced 
about one's mother. Mother or not, she remains still a 
woman whose faults one must abominate, if one does not 
wish to make oneself guilty along with her. But enough. 
To return to your marriage. You promise me, then, not 
to marry ? 

Va. How can I promise you that ? Supposing I were 
able to suppress the affection which now holds me in 
sway, yet my household affairs would oblige me to look 
for a helpmate. 

Wu. Oh, if it is only to be a helpmate in your house 
hold affairs, I know an excellent plan. Listen, take your 
sister with you. She is clever enough to manage your 
house, and I should in this way get rid of a burden which 
has long become intolerable to me. 

Va. Am I to stand in the way of my sister's happiness ? 

Wu. You are a wonderful fellow ! What happiness 
can you stand in the way of ? People won't excite them- 
selves about her ; and whether you take her with you or 
not, she will find no match that will suit either her or me. 
For that I should deceive an honourable, upright man with 
her, can never happen. I will make no man unhappy, let 
alone one whom I esteem. And she herself is too proud 
to take a worthless and bad man, to whom I would most 
willingly grant her. 



152 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act I. 



Le. But, Herr Wumshater, do you not consider that it 
would be very dangerous for me, if Valer were to take his 
sister with him ? Hatred of women has not struck Its 
roots any too deep as yet in my heart. Laura is lively 
and pretty, and, what is best of all, she is the daughter of 
a woman-hater, whom I have adopted as my model in all 
things. How easily it might happen, that I should .... 
I won't say marry, for that would be the least evil, but 
that I should — Heaven avert the calamity — that I should 

even fall in love with her Then, good-night, hatred 

of women ! And, perhaps, after many misfortunes, I 
should hardly come to myself again by the time I was 
your age. 

Wu. Heaven forbid that that should arise from it ! 
But have more confidence in yourself, Herr Lelio ; you 
are too sensible. As has been said, my son, you may rely 
on this, your sister shall go with you ; she must go with 
you. I will go at once and tell her so. (Exit.) 

Scene IV. — Lelio, Valer. 

Va. Dearest Hilaria, what shall I do now ? You see 

Le. I see that you are too impatient, Valer. 

Va. Too impatient? Haven't we been here a week 
already? Why was not I sufficiently thoughtless to 
dispense with my father's consent altogether? Why 
must Hilaria have so much complaisance towards the 
weakness of his peevish age ? The idea which you had 
of winning his good-will beforehand, in the disguise of 
a man under your brother's name, was the most ingenious 
in the world, and one which promised to lead rapidly 
to our end. And yet it will not help us at all. 

Le. Do not say that ; for I believe our affair is going on 
very well. Have not I, as Lelio, obtained his friendship 
and his entire confidence ? 

Va. And that, too, without performing any miracles. 
You agree with him in everything. 

Le. Must I not do so ? 

Va. Yes, but not so earnestly. Instead of dissuading 
him from his obstinate delusion, you confirm him in it. 
That cannot possibly come to good. And another thing, 



Scene IV.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



153 



dearest Hilaria; you are also carrying the masquerade 
much too far with my sister. 

Le. But it will always remain merely acting. And 
a<5 soon as she learns who I am, everthing will be right 
again. 

Va. If she does not learn it too late. I am quite aware 
that since you appeared here as a man you could not 
refrain from a little flattery. But you ought to have 
given this flattery as coldly as possible, without appearing 
to have any serious design on her heart. My father has 
just gone to tell her that she is to travel with us. Mind 
what I say, that will be grist to her mill, as the proverb 
says. For us, indeed, no harm can be done by that, but 
all the more may be for another. 

Le. I know what you mean. Leander 

Va. Leander has long been on the best terms with 
her ; and only the lawsuit in which he is involved with 
our father has restrained him from ashing for her hand, 
through fear of a contemptuous refusal. But at last 
Herr Soloist has obligingly undertaken to set him at ease 
as regards this fear. He is going to be the match-maker 
himself; and the turn he means to give to his petition 
would be the silliest in the world, if he had not to do 
with a man whose folly will only permit itself to be 
opposed by folly. 

Le. A polite description of your father ! 

Va. It is sad enough for me that I cannot think other- 
wise of him in this matter. My lovely Hilaria, be kind 
enough to alter your manner a little. Behave with more 
indifference towards my sister, so that Leander may not 
look on you as a rival who is injuring him without him- 
self being able in the end to use the advantage he has 
gained over him. You must try, too, to prepossess my 
father in favour of the person you really are, rather than 
the person you appear to be. You must begin to oppose 
his whims, and, by means of the influence you have 
obtained over him, bring him at least to consider Hilaria 
as the single one of her sex that deserves to be exempted 
from his hatred. You must 

Le. You must not always be saying " you must." My 
dear Valer, you promise to be a tolerably domineering 



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[Act t 



husband. Do let me have the pleasure of playing out the 
part I have commenced according to my own judgment. 

Va. If I could only see that you thought about 
playing it out. But you are only thinking of playing 
on, and are complicating the tangle more and more, and 
you will end by making it so complicated that it will "not 
be possible to undo it again. 

'Le. Very well, if it can't be undone again, we will do 
as the bad playwrights do, break it. 

Va. And get hissed as the bad playwrights do. 

Le. Never mind. 

Va. How you torture me with this indifference, 
Hilaria ! 

Le. You take it too seriously, Valer. I am not 
really so indifferent ; and to convince you of it ... . 
well .... I will this very day take a step in our plot for 
which I did not consider that I had sufficiently prepared 
the way. We will let Hilaria appear, and try what luck, 
she will have in her true shape. 

Va. You delight me Yes, dearest Hilaria, we 

cannot be too speedy in learning our destiny. If this 
does no good, we shall yet have done all that lay in our 
power ; and I shall at last be able to persuade my con- 
science to confront so strange a father. I must possess 
you, cost what it may. How happy I shall be if I can 
openly boast of this hand ! (Kisses her hand.) 

Scene V. — Wumshater, Lelio, Valer. 

Wu. (tvho sees Valer kissing Hilaria's hand). Eh ! eh ! 
My son, why, you are treating your bride's brother as if 
he were the bride herself. How you start ! 

Le. Dear Valer often forgets himself. .... But do 
you know why that is ? 

Wu. That I cannot know By the bye, my son, 

all is right. Your sister is going to travel with you. She 
was more pleased with my proposal than I expected. 

But now, Herr Lelio, what is it that you were 

going to tell me ? 

Le. (softly to Valer). Pay attention, Valer; our plot 
may now be introduced, 



Scene V.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



155 



Wu. Tell me, Lelio, what did you mean ? 

Le. You caught the ardent Valer in an ecstasy which 
is a little too tender for a manly friendship. You were 
surprised, and thought he must be taking me for my 
sister. How penetrating is your intellect, Herr Wu ins- 
hater! You have hit it. He really does take me for 
her frequently, in the intoxication of his passion. But 
one must forgive him this quid pro quo, since it is 
impossible for two drops of water to be more like one 
another than I and my sister are. Whenever he looks me 
fixedly in the face, he imagines he sees her too, and cannot 
restrain himself from offering to me some of the respectful 
caresses he is wont to offer to her. 

Wu. How absurd ! 

Le. Not a few men of his stamp are much more absurd. 
I know a certain Lidio who behaves towards a withered 
nosegay which his mistress had worn in her bosom more 
than a year ago, as if it were his mistress herself. 
He talks with it for whole days, kisses it, kneels before 
it 

Wu. And has not been sent to Bedlam yet? My son, 
my son, learn wisdom from the misfortunes of others, and 
restrain your love while you are still able to do so. Just 
consider, to talk with a nosegay, and kneel before it ! 
Could the effect of a mad dog's bite be more frightful ? 

Le. Certainly not. But to return to my sister 

Wu. Who is so like you ? Now, how much is she like 
you, I wonder? One can probably perceive that you are 
of the same family. 

Le. Oh, that is a trifle. Our parents themselves could 
not distinguish between us in our childhood, when for 
fun we had exchanged clothes. 

Va. And now just consider, dearest father : if it is 
true, as you have often said yourself, that even from the 
outward appearance of Herr Lelio, from the form of his 
face, from his features, from the modest fire of his eyes, 
from his manner, one could infer the inner worth of his 
soul, his intelligence, his virtue, , and all the qualities 
which you prize in him ; consider for once, I say, whether, 
in the case of his amiable sister, one can draw a different 
inference from the very same external appearance, the 



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[Act L 



very same form of face, the very same features, the 
very same eyes, and the very same manner? Certainly 
not. 

AVu. Certainly yes ! But that you may not force me 
to prove this at length, I venture to declare flatly that 
it is impossible that his sister can be as like him as 
you say. 

Le. You had better prove the former for him, Herr 
Wumshater, than deny the latter, for otherwise you might, 
perhaps this very day, be convinced of it by your eyes. 

Wu. How by my eyes? 

Le. Has not Valer told you yet that he expects my 
sister to-day ? 

Wu. What ? She is coming herself? With no dimi- 
nution of the high respect which I feel for yon, Herr 
Lelio, I must however freely confess that I am not in the 
least desirous to make the acquaintance of your female 
counterpart. 

Va. And just because I knew this, father, I did not 
want to say anything of her coming until now. But I 
will yet hope that I niay have the pleasure of presenting 
her to you. 

Wu. Provided only you do not ask me to meet her as 
my future daughter-in-law. 

Va. But you will meet her as the sister of Lelio ? 

Wu. According as I find her Now, Laura, 

what do you want ? 

Scene VI. — Laura, Lelio, Valer. 

La. To thank you once more, dearest father, for being 
so kind as to allow me to go with my brother. 
Wu. Let that be ! 

La. Your fatherly love has anticipated my wish. 
Wu. Well, be quiet then. 

La. In truth I was wishing to make the request myself. 
Wu. What is that to me ? 

La. Only I did npt know how I should express my 
wish prudently. I feared 

Wu. I fear that I shall vex myself into a consumption 
over your chatter. 



Scene VI ] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



157 



La. I feared, I say, that you might attribute my 
desire to live with my brother to a false cause. 
Wu. Have you not finished yet"? 

La. To a reprehensible weariness, perhaps, at having 
to remain longer with you. 

Wu. I shall have to stop your mouth for you. 
La. But I assure you 

Wu. Now, in truth, a mad horse is easier to stop than 
the chatter of such a jade. You ought to know, that I 
have not considered you in the least in this matter. I 
send you with your brother, that you may manage his 
household affairs for him, and because I want to get rid 
of you. But whether it is agreeable or disagreeable to 
you, is all the same to me. 

La. I quite understand, father, that you are making 
your kindness so small and questionable only in order to 
spare me from a formal expression of gratitude. I will 
therefore be silent. But you, my dear brother 

Wu. Yes, yes ! She is silent ; that is, she begins to 
chatter to somebody else. 

La. You will not, I hope, be sorry to take me with 
you? 

Va. Dear sister 

La. Good, good, spare your assurances. I know already 
that you love me. How pleased I shall be in your society, 
which I have had to be without for so many years ! 

Va. I cannot possibly expect you for my sake to 
exchange a beloved native town, where you have so many 
friends and admirers, for a place quite strange to you. 

Wu. But I expect it of her. I should hope you are 
not paying each other compliments ? 

La. Do you hear ? And what do you mean by your 
quite strange place ? Shall I not have you there ? Will 
not Lelio be there ? Shall I not find his excellent sister 
there ? (To Lelio ) Permit me, sir 

Wu. I thought so ; her prating is going the whole 
round. 

La. Permit me, I say, to regard your sister beforehand 
as my friend. She need only ha^e the half of her 
brother's perfections, for me to love her just as much as 
I esteem him. 



15S 



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[Act L 



Wtj. Eh ? I verily believe you are bold enough to utter 
flatteries to respectable people. I am sorry, Herr Lelio, 
that this thoughtless creature should make you blush, 

Va. (whispers to Lklio ). Don't answer her too cordially. 

Le. Amiable Laura 

Va. (whispers to Lelio). Not too cordially, I say. 

Le. Most lovely Laura 

Va. (whispers to Lklio). Take care. 
La. Mademoiselle 

Wu. (to Laura). Just see how embarrassed you have 
made him. But it is a sign of his intell ; gence ; for the 
more intelligent a man is, the less can he make out of 
your tittle-tattle and wish-wash. Come, Lelio, let us take a 
turn in the garden, and not stay here any longer with the 
girl. Don't you follow us, though. But you, Valer, may 
come with us. (Lelio makes a bow to Laura.) Eh ? 
What is that ? You surely won't feel a twinge of con- 
science if you turn your back on her without a salutation ? 
(Laura returns the bow.) And you, girl, have done with 

your curtsies, or The confounded lot ! When 

their tongues are tired, they pursue one with their 
grimaces. 

Va. I will follow you directly. 

(Exeunt Wumshater and Lelio.) 

Scene VII. — Valer, Laura. 

Va. Now, sister, just tell me what I am to think of 
you? 

La. Tell me first what I am to think of your Lelio ? 

Va. You are really resolved to go with me ? 

La. ^Yho would have supposed that Lelio did not know 
how to return a compliment ! I know him better. How 
many pretty things he has said to me when from time to 
time he has found me alone ! But, brother, he shall not 
say them to me any more alone. I will soon bring him to 
say them in your father's and your presence. He has 
done very rightly in playing a part before the latter up 
till now. He had to make sure of his good will. 
But now I should think he might gradually raise the 
mask a little. 



Scene VII. j 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



159 



Va. I am astounded. 

La. I should like to know why ? Am I astounded 
that you have found favour in his sister's eyes ? 

Va. That means, I am to have the justice to refrain 
from astonishment that you have found favour in her 
brother's eyes. But Leander 

La. Say nothing to me about Leander, I beg of you. 
He must have known for some time now what his position 
was. Haven't I sent back all his letters unopened for some 
days past ? 

Va. But only for some days. 

La. Sneering brother ! Could it be disagreeable to you, 
then, to be allied doubly to the family of Lelio ? 

Va. I wager anything that you cannot explain your- 
self more clearly. 

La. Don't do that ; for see now if you would not have 

lost your wager I know how I stand towards Lelio. 

He has confessed his love to me with more fervour, more 
tenderness than Leander has ever done. And don't you 
know, then, the way we girls have ? When I go shopping 
I assure you I never buy the stuff which I have first 
bargained for. And if the shopman was to become annoyed 
at that, I should say, " Why don't you show me at once 
what I like best?" 

Va. The shopman won't become annoyed at it, for he 
knows from experience that when you have considered 
much and long you always pitch at last on the worst 
thing ; on a colour, on a pattern which has been out of 
fashion for an age. And you don't observe how you have 
deceived yourselves until you have inspected your purchase 
at home and at leisure. Then how much you wish for 
that which you had first bargained for. 

La. You can make an excellent simile. Will you not 
be so good as to apply it also? It contains no bad 
recommendation of Lelio. Oh, he shall hear how well 
you speak of him; he shall hear of it this very day. 
Good-bye, brother. 

Va. A word in earnest, sister. 

La. In earnest ? Have you been joking until now ? 
Well, I will let it pass then. 

Va. Listen ; I tell you in plain words : Lelio cannot 



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[Act II. 



possibly become yours ; believe me, lie cannot possibly 
— not possibly. 

La. Ha, ha, ha ! If I don't go at once, perhaps you 
will tell me in confidence that he is already married. Ha, 
ha, ha! (Exit.) 

Va. Silly girl ! T really have not dared to say 

anything to her of Herr Solbist's proposal. She would 
anticipate him with my father, and then all would be lost. 
We must serve her against her will, if she is to thank us 
in the end. Why, here she is again. 

La. {comes back with a serious air). Brother 

Va. Eh? So serious? 

La. Impossible, did you say ? Explain this impossi- 
bility to me. 

Va. Our father is waiting for me in the garden. I 
must therefore explain it very briefly. Impossible is 

that which is not possible. Good-bye for the 

present, dear sister. (Exit.) 

La. Is that all ? I am much obliged ! Patience ! I 
must see how I can get a word with Lelio. (Exit.) 



ACT II. 

Scene I. — Lelio or Hilaria. 

Le. I shall soon believe myself that I have made love 
too boldly to the good Laura. Alas for our poor sex ! 
How easily we are deceived ! She signed to me confi- 
dentially just now. She wants to speak to me, 1 suppose. 
Yes, yes ; I thought so. It is good that I am prepared. 

Scene II. — Laura, Lelio. 

La. Poor Lelio, have you at last got away from my 
father's vexatious presence ? How I wish that there was 
at least one person in our house whose agreeable society 
could indemnify you. 

Le. (aside). She knows excellently well how to con- 
trive a love discourse ! I hardly know how to make 
the preparations for my retreat equally cleverly. 



Scene II.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



?61 



La. You do not answer me ? 
Le. What shall I answer ? 

La. It is true. What shall one answer when the answer 
is placed ready on one's lips? You might just as politely 
have told me to my face that I at any rate was not the 
person alluded to. 

Le. Cruel Laura ! 

La. Merciful Lelio! 

Le. Barbarous fair one ! 

La. Anything more ? Have pity, and make me more 
humane. 

Le. You are making fun of me. Unhappy man that I 
am ! Oh that I had never known you, or at least had 
known you earlier ! 

La. Still no end to your ejaculations ? But what' do 
you mean by that ? 

Le. What have I done to you that you feed in me a 
flame which will consume me hopelessly ? 

La. Now you are gradually coming to questions, and 
I hope soon to understand you. 

Le. How do I deserve that you should involve me in a 
hopeless love ? 

La. Inquire further. Perhaps something will come 
which I can answer. 

Le. Was it, then, so important to you to make me an 
innocent victim of your charms ? What pleasure did you 
promise yourself from my despair ? Enjoy it, oh enjoy it. 
But that another shall enjoy it with you, who cannot 
possibly love you as tenderly as I do love you, that pierces 
me to the heart ! 

La. By the way, you are surely not jealous ? 

Le. Jealous ? No. One ceases to be jealous when one 
has lost all hope, and one can only be envious. 

La. (aside). What am I to think of him ? May 

not I know who is the fortunate person whom you 
envy? 

Le. Pray continue to dissimulate. It is just your 
dissimulation which has caused my unhappiness. The 
lovelier a girl is, the more upright she ought to be ; for 
only by her uprightness can she obviate the mischief 
which her beauty would perpetrate. Immediately after 

VOL. H. M 



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[Act II. 



the first interchange of politeness, at any rate after the 
first tender glances which I directed towards you, im- 
mediately after the first sighs which my new love forced 
from me, you should have said to me, " I warn you, sir, 
be on your guard. Let not my beauty lead you too 
far; you come too late; my heart is already promised." 
You ought to have said that to me ; and then I should 
never have presumed to covet the possession of another. 

La. (aside). Ha ! Has my brother put anything about 
Leander into his head ? 

Le. All too happy Leander ! 

La. (aside). Yes, yes ! That is it. I will make him 
pay for that Sir 

Le. I pray you, no excuses, Mademoiselle. You might 
easily make matters worse, and I might begin to believe 
that you at any rate pitied me. I know the sacred rights 
of a first love, which I suppose yours for Leander is. I 
will not be guilty of any foolish attempt to weaken it. 
All would be in vain 

La. I am astonished at your credulity. 

Le. You are right to be astonished at it. Could I have 
imagined anything sillier than that your bewitching 
charms should have awaited my coming to disclose their 
power over a sensitive heart ? 

La. That credulity might have been forgiven you. But 
do you not perceive, then, or will you not perceive 

Le. What, most lovely Laura ? 

La. That it is another credulity for which I am dis- 
pleased with you. 

Le. Another? .... You are right .... Fool that 1 am. 
La. What now? 

Le. I can hardly raise my eyes for shame. 
La. For shame ? 

Le. How ridiculous I must appear to you ! 

La. I did not know 

Le. How absurd I appear to myself ! 

La. You appear ? . . . . And why, then ? 

Le. Certainly, how ridiculous, how absurd, that I 
should have taken politeness for tenderness, the conven- 
tional obligations for tokens of growing love ! That, that 
is the credulity which displeases you so much in me. — a 



Scene III.] THE WOMAN-HATER. 



163 



credulity which is all the more culpable the more pride it 
presupposes. 
La. Lelio ! 

Le. But forgive me ; be generous, lovely Laura ; judge 
me not with too much severity. My youth deserves your 
forbearance. What man of my years, of my education, 
of my ardent disposition, is not a bit of a coxcomb? 
It is our nature. Every smiling glance seems to us the 
reward of our desert, or the homage due to our worth, 
without our inquiring whether it has not fallen on us 
through mere absence of mind, out of pity, or even out 
of contempt. 

La. Oh, you make me impatient ; I have no idea how 
it may fare at times with your small brains. 

Le. Not always for the best. But trouble yourself 
about me no more. You have brought me back within 
the bounds of my own insignificance. 

La. More still? I see my father coming, I must be 
brief. That you should so easily have accepted as true 
a silly story about a certain Leander that, — that is the 

credulity which annoys me in you I leave you ; 

follow me without being noticed to the summer-house. 
You shall have proofs that some one is trying to deceive 
you. (Exit.) 

Scene III. — Wumshater, Valer, Lelio. 

Le. I shall not follow you, my good child. I really 
do not know when anything has been so unpleasant to me 
as this interview. 

Wu. Why, Herr Lelio, you have slipped away from 
me. You can hardly think how angry my son is making 
me. See, through your confounded request, I have quite 
forgotten that Herr Solbist was coming to see me. 1 
hope he has not been here already. My servants tell me 
nothing at all. Why is it ? Heaven has chastised me 
with a lot of women to wait on me, and if once in a while 
I get a decent man to serve me, a month is scarcely out 
when that confounded hussy, Lisette, has him in her 
toils. Well, well, when once my daughter is gone, I won't 
endure even a female fly under my roof any more. 

Va. Look, father, here is Herr Solbist just coming. 

m 2 



164 



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[Act II. 



Scene IV. — Solbist (in a large wig, with a packet of legal 
documents under his ami), Wumshater, Valer, Lelio. 
Wu. Ah ! Is that you, my dear Herr Solbist ? 
Sol. Yes, it is certainly. 

Va. (aside to Lelio). Don't let him see that you know 
anything of his plot, for everything must be kept 
secret from him. 

AVu. Well, what good news do you bring with you ? 

Sol. Hadn't I better have told you at once before the 
front door? .... Patience. I must speak with you in 
complete privacy. 

Wu. In complete privacy ? You make me uneasy. 

Sol. (to Lelio, who is surveying him from head to foot). 
Well ? What are you staring at me for ? 

Le. I admire you. 

Sol. As a bumpkin does a large house, when, for once, 
he comes to town. 

Le. I see, you have got yourself up more than usual 
to-day. 

Sol. I am a rogue if it was on your account. 

Le. In this wig you might get yourself engraved for 
the Illustrated News. 

Sol. Don't vex me to-day. To-day I am on pro- 
fessional business. Another time you can have your fun 
with me. To-day be so good as to respect my office. 

Le. I have all respect for your official documents. 

Sol. You might have dispensed with that piece of 
mockery. Is it my fault that I have to carry them 
myself? No, certainly not. I have now long enough 
served the ungrateful town and the dear village people 
as an industrious counsellor; and my deserts ought by 
rights to yield already at least sufficient for me to be able 
to keep a boy, a writer, a secretary, or something of the 
sort. But who, then, can compel fortune ? Until now I 
have had to be everything myself. But as soon as I can 
keep a boy, or something of that sort, my generosity will 
not hesitate to propose you. 

Le. You are joking, Herr Solbist, and with acuteness. 

Sol. I never joke otherwise. But, Herr Wumshater, 
please, please get these young people away. I must 
speak with you alone. 



Scene V.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



165 



Le. You need only talk with him in legal style, and 
it will be just as good as if we were not here. 

Wr. But they are my friends, you know ; what you 
have to say to me you can certainly say in their presence. 

Sol. So you don't wish to listen to me ? Good (is going). 

Le. We will not expose you to his caprice, Herr 
Wumshater. Pray remain, Herr Solbist, we are going. 
(Wliispers to Valer.) Come, Valer, apart from that it 
will soon be time for me to change my costume. 

Wu. But pray don't take it ill. (Exeunt Valer and 
Lelio.) 

Scene V. — Wumshater, Solbist. 

Wu. And now, Herr Solbist, let me hear what secrets 
you have to confide to me ? 

Sol. Are they gone ? Step this way. They might be 
listening at the door. 

Wu. Well? 

Sol. Herr Leander 

Wu. Has the devil taken him ? 

Sol. Hush ! Just listen. Herr Leander wishes .... 
(speaking in his ear) wishes to come to a settlement 
with you. 

Wu. (very loud). What? He wishes to come to a 
settlement with me ? 

Sol. Hush ! hush ! Yes, he does. He has let me 
make a fool of him. 

Wu. (very loud). You are a fool yourself. I do not want 
to come to a settlement with him. How many hundred 
times haven't I most decidedly assured you of that ? 

Sol. Hush, hush, hush ! With your confounded 
shouting you will ruin me in honour, reputation, credit, 
and everything. Supposing, now, some one has heard you ? 

Wu. Oh, I will give you evidence before all the world 
that you are seeking nothing but my ruin. Come to a 
settlement ! Have not I the best of cases ? 

Sol. But even the best of cases may be lost, when it 
stands ay yours does. Your late wife let matters go 
too far. 

Wu. The confounded woman! Doesn't all my un- 
happiness com i from women ? 



166 



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[Act II. 



Sol. Not only your unhappiness, but all the im' lappiness 
in the world, as 1 shall presently show. Make liaste, and 
listen to the proof, and tell me briefly whether it would 
not please you if Leander .... I won't say were to come 
to a settlement with you, since you won't hear anything 
of settlements .... but, on a trifling, quite trifling, 
condition, were to let the suit drop. 

Wu. Let it drop ? As if I had won it ! Yes, that 
would be something. But what, then, is the condition ? 

Sol. A condition that will be altogether after your 
own heart. 

Wu. Well? 

Sol. Briefly, Leander will- let the suit drop on condi- 
tion .... on condition, Herr Wumshater .... (speaking 
in his ear) that you will render him unhappy. 

Wu. (very loudly). What ? Eender him unhappy ? 

Sol. You will render me so with that treacherous, 
auctioneer's voice of yours. I like to manage all my 
affairs secretly and in silence. But you, you .... I'll 
wager Leander has heard it in his own house ! 

Wu. Well, then, reveal to me in all secrecy in what 
way I can make him unhappy. 

Sol. Nothing is easier. Listen now, in confidence. 
The man has become perfectly silly. I believe Heaven 
has punished him on your account. He has fallen on a 
most desperate idea. I will explain it to you at once. 

Wu. I don't see yet what you are aiming at. 

Sol. (puts his documents down, takes from his pocket a large 
frill, which he puts on, draws on a pair of white gloves, steps 
back a few paces, and begins his harangue in a pedantic 
manner). Most nobly born, especially to be venerated 
Sir and Patron! When God had made Adam, and had 

placed him in a beautiful Paradise In passing, I 

will remind you that up till now, no one knows exactly 
where Paradise was situated. Scholars contest the 

point very hotly. But no matter where it was 

When God then had placed Adam in this, to us unknown, 
Paradise 

Wu. Ay ! Herr Solbist, Herr Solbist ! 

Sol. Just step a little in front of the door, 1 hat no one 
may come in. 



Scene V.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



167 



Wu. I shall thank God if anyone does come, for I really 
am afraid you have gone out of your mind. 

Sol. Do just go, and have patience a moment 

When, then, I say, Adam was placed in this Paradise, — 
when he, 1 say, was placed in it ; and, I will remark, was 
therefore in the Paradise in which he had been placed by 

God. He was therefore in this Paradise Eh? 

This is odd ! If I could only find my way out again. 
There it is now ! That is what occurs when you interrupt 
an orator. 

Wu. I am only sorry that I shall soon have to put 
pressure on you. Tell me, for goodness' sake, what 
you mean ? 

Sol. I would rather you had given me a box on the 
ear, than that you had broken the thread of my discourse. 
I must just see whether I can get hold of it again. ( Very 
quickly.) Most nobly born, specially to be venerated Sir 
and Patron ; when God had made Adam, and placed him 

in a beautiful Paradise Most nobly horn, specially 

to be venerated Sir and Patron ; when God had made 

Adam and placed him in a beautiful Paradise No, 

1 really can't get further, it is as if the thread had been 
cut away from my lips. Well, be it so ; the greatest loss 
is yours. 

Wu. Mine ? 

Sol. Yes, indeed. You would have heard a truly 
Ciceronian masterpiece. A practised club of orators could 
not have composed it better. Now you will have to be 
satisfied with the contenta. Listen, then ; my oration 
for you must at least have perceived that I de- 
sired to make an oration My oration, I say, had 

three partes, albeit formerly there were wont to be eight 
partes orationis. The first part, or rather the first pars, con- 
tained a correct list of all bad wives, from Eve downwards 
to the three you had. 

Wu. What ? A list of all bad wives ? Ah ! I should 

have been curious to hear that It could, however, 

hardly have been a list of all bad wives, but only of the 
worst. For a list of all bad wives would be a list of all 
the wives that have ever lived in the world, and that it 
could not have been. 



168 



LESSING 8 DKAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act IL 



Sol. Quite so. My next pars .... 

Wu. Had you the wife of Job in your list? 

Sol. Certainly. My next pars .... 

Wu. Had you also Tobias' wife ? 

Sol. Certainly. My next pars .... 

Wu. And Queen Jezebel, too ? 

Sol. Also. My next pars .... 

Wu. Also the Scarlet Woman of Babylon ? 

Sol. Her, too. My next pars .... 

Wu. You perceive that 1 also know a thing or two. 

Sol. I perceive that you only know the best of them. 
I know quite different ones. A Hispulla, a Hippia, a 
Medullina, a Saufeia, an Ogulina, a Messalina, a Cajsonia 

of all of whom more may be read in the sixth 

book of the History of J uvenal Well, lest my con- 

tenta should be longer than my oration would have been, 
just listen to me further. My second pars proved as briefly 
as thoroughly that a wife is the greatest misfortune in the 
world, and deduced therefrom incontestably that marriage 
must be a very senseless affair, a proposition which was 
supported at great length by testimonia, especially yours. 

Wu. Ah ! My dear Herr Solbist, how did you come 
upon such an excellent subject? I am really heartily 
sorry now, that your oration came to nothing. Ay, ay ! 
But how is it that you desired to give me so much plea- 
sure? It is neither my birthday to-day, nor my name- 
day, that I should expect you to make me so fine a speech 
of congratulation. 

Sol. All will become clear to you through my third 
pars. The third pars contained, finally, a statement that, 
notwithstanding this folly, namely, the folly of marrying, 
.... just guess who .... wishes to commit 

Wu. Who ? Surely not my son ? For I think I have 
pretty well talked it out of him. 

Sol. No, not your son. 

Wu. Well, I would, then, that it were my worst enemy. 
Sol. Bravo ! 

Wu. I wish it were Leander. 
Sol. You have hit it. 

Wu. Eeally ? How unlucky that I can't raise one of 
my three wives from the dead, and give her to him ' 



Scene V.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



169 



Sol. You can do that, Herr "VVumshater ; you can do 
that, if only you desire it. Does not your second wife live 
and move in the person of your daughter ? In short, you 
see in me the wooer for Herr Leander, and my mission, 
indeed, concerns the honourable and virtuous maid, Miss 
Laura, lawful and only daughter of the body of Herr 
Zacharias Maria Wumshater. If he is fortunate in his 
suit, you will have won your case. Dixi. 

Wu. What? my dearest Herr Solbist, is it possible? 
Leander wishes to have my daughter, and if I give her 
to him, shall I have won my case ? 

Sol. You will have won it ! Don't hesitate. 

Wu. Hesitate ? 

Sol. You must be convinced that one cannot devise a 
procedure more hostile to a man than to give him a wife. 

Wu. I am convinced of that. He shall have her, yes ; 
I will give her to him with joy. How miserable she 
shall make his life. Leander, Leander, you shall feel the 
vexation tenfold which you have caused to me. How 
delighted I shall be when I hear in a short time that my 
daughter is quarrelling daily with him ; that she won't 
let him enjoy a morsel in peace ; that she even lays hands 
on him ; that she is unfaithful to him ; that she is spending 
all his fortune ; finally, that he has to give up house and 
home through her ! I think, I think, she will bring it to 
that. Yes, yes, Herr Solbist, Leander shall have my 
daughter, he shall have her. But if I am to win the case 
in this way, I must have the six thousand thalers, which 
were deposited, paid to me. 

Sol. You can have them to-morrow. 

Wu. To-morrow ? That would be excellent. I have 
just now a chance of investing them at six per cent. 
But I hope Leander does not fancy that he will get 
them back in the form of a dowry? He may just give 
up that idea. I can give him nothing with my daughter, 
nothing at all. 

Sol. It will not bo uecessary, either ; Leander is rich 
enough himself. 

Wu. If that is the case, she is his wife this very day 
if he pleases. I intended her, indeed, to go with my son ; 
but that will come to nothing now. It is better that she 



170 



LESSING's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



should avenge me on a man who has wronged me so nmch. 
We will go to her at once ; Herr Leander may come after- 
wards himself. Come, Herr Soloist 

Sol. Pray go. I must first take off my lace frill, and 
put my kid gloves away. But don't you tell anyone that 
1 have been match-maker. (Exit Wumshater.) It might 
not be perfectly in keeping with my office, for which 
reason I very wisely didn't choose to come in complete 
costume. How easily people might have fancied that I 
wanted to get a wooer's reward. Quick, there's someone 
coming. 

Scene VI. — Lisette, Solbist. 

. Sol. (still talcing off his frill). Is it you, Lisette ? Well, 
well, you may know now what I have been doing here. 

Lis. Has all gone well, Herr Solbist? 

Sol. As if everything which I once undertake must not 
of necessity go well. If people had taken me into their 
counsels sooner, Laura might even now be the mother of 
Leander' s children. 

Lis. One would hardly think what knaveries there 
are in that little grey head ! 

Sol. Don't make me blush. Certainly Herr Wums- 
hater would have refused Leander, if the proposal had 
been made for him in any other way. But it was not so 
very difficult to discover this one way, especially for a 
man of experience like me. For, in confidence, Lisette, 
(whispers) do you suppose that this is the first couple that 
1 have brought together? 

Lis. Oh dear, no. I believe on the contrary that you 
are an adept at match-making. 

Sol. Hush, hush ! Don't shout so ! It has had to 
bring me in many a bright thaler. People are fright- 
fully mistaken if they suppose I am the author of nothing 
but quarrels. As an honourable lawyer, of course, I must 
be able to make those ; yet if that does not thrive well at 
all times, I can also make marriages. 

Lis. As if making marriages and making quarrels was 
not the same thing ! And from what I have heard, you 
can part married folk again, just as easily as you can 
bring them together. You are a sly fox. Could you have 



! Scene VI.] THE WOMAN-HATER. 171 

earned so much through divorce cases if you had not laid 
! the foundation for them by your match-making ? 

• Sol. The deuce ! Who told you that ? I do every- 
thing quietly and in silence, and don't ever like speaking 
openly about such matters, and yet you have heard it. 

That cannot have happened by fair means But it is 

true that it is a pleasure when I give my clients audience 
in the forenoon. Every one has recourse to me. If the 
peasant wants to bring an action against his master, he 
comes to me. If an aged little matron wishes to get a 
young healthy husband, she comes to me. If one scamp 
wants to bring an action for libel against another, he 
comes to me. If a young wife wants to get rid of her 
decrepit old husband, she comes to me. But all these 
affairs, all these, particularly those which concern marriage, 
go on in such secrecy that they must only speak of them 
to me in my ear. And yet you know of it ? Hold your 
j tongue, Lisette, my dear, and don't tell anyone else. 
1 Perhaps I can also do you a service. I don't know, though, 
whether you want to be married already. But the desire 
j comes very quickly sometimes. Just let me know when 
I it does. I keep a correct list of all the marriageable 
maidens and bachelors in the town. I read it over once or 
twice every day, and see who is likely to have need of my 
help. To tell the truth, I have already marked a few young 
1 fellows with an asterisk, who would suit you very well. 

. Lis. If they are rich, young, and handsome, you can 
i be sure that they will suit me. My future husband has 
! no need of any more good qualities than these. I have 
the others. 

Sol. I will show you my list. You can then look out 
which of those in it pleases you best. I have described 
them in detail according to their external and internal 
gifts, and have drawn certain tolerably good conclusions 
from the proportions of their limbs; especially of the 

nose, shoulders, calves More of this at another time, 

Lisette, my dear. I must go and send Herr Leander here. 
Notwithstanding the lawsuit, he has always had much 
I love for Miss Laura. 

Lis. Oh, and so has she for him. Don't :"prget the list. 

Sol. But be sure to keep silence ! Keer. silence. 



172 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



Lis. (alone). There is an upright lawyer for you ! If 
only his plot is not too late. Laura has ueemed to me 
much changed towards Leander during the last few days. 
I fear that Valer has brought his future brother-in-law 
with him at an unlucky time. 

Scene VII. — Wumshater, Lisette. 

Wu. Where is the daughter, Lisette ? 
Lis. What daughter ? 

Wu. The daughter. I have looked for her already all 
over the house. Where is she ? 
Lis. What daughter, I say ? 

Wu. The hussy only wants me to say " my daughter ; " 
because she knows how I dislike saying it. 

Lis. Oh, so it is your own daughter you are asking 
for ? Your own ? I really don't know where she is. But 
what shall we bet that I know what you wish to announce 
to her ? 

Wu. Perhaps she is in the garden ? 

Lis. That may be. You have certainly acted most 
wisely, in allowing Herr Leander 

Wu. Don't you say I have acted wisely, or I shall think 
that I have committed the greatest of follies. 

Lis. Well, then, I will say the latter. 

Wu. Say it, then, in the name of all the witches, and 
leave me in peace. 

Lis. (alone). Now, certainly, if I were ever to get such 
a fool as that for my husband, I think I should be in my 
old age as great a man-hater as he is a woman-hater. But, 
be it observed, not before I am old. 



ACT III. 

Scene I. — Lisette from one side, and Laura from the other. 
Lis. So excited, Mamselle ? 

La. Where is the worthless lawyer ? The officious old 
match-maker ! What is he meddling in ? Who commis- 



Scene I.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



173 



eioncd him to ask me from my father as an affliction for a 
man with whom I should be most afflicted? 

Lis. By whom you would be most afflicted ? Do you 
not love Leander ? And have you not long since granted 
him your permission to seek your father's consent in one 
way or another ? 

La. It is lucky for you that you say "long since." 
For this very reason that once, long since, 1 loved Leander, 
and once, long since, desired to be his, people might as 
well have inquired beforehand whether I still desire it, 
and whether I still love him. Must one go to work so 
confidently, without telling me a word about it ? I should 
think I am not the least important person in the matter. 

Lis. And so you really do not love Leander any 
Ion ger ? 

La. No ; and I am ashamed of ever having loved him. 
Had it not been for your misleading me, I should never 
have honoured with my respect a man who lives in such 
open disagreement and strife with my father. 

Lis. (makes a low courtesy). You confer too much honour 
on me, in confounding me and your own heart. 

La. My heart cannot have taken much part in that 
matter. A passing fancy; that is what it was at the 
utmost. Otherwise it would doubtless have been more 
painful to me to forget him. A single trifling considera- 
tion has drawn me away from this unseemly love. 

Lis. Oh ! A consideration ? May not one know the 
nature of this consideration ? Surely not the consideration 
of Herr Lelio ? 

La. You are a fool. 

Lis. I expected that answer. But do you know the 
proverb about children and fools ? 

La. Leander is my father's enemy. It is true he 
has often assured me that he is not so, and that he is 
unable to perceive the necessity of one man hating another 
because he is engaged in a lawsuit with him; one may 
prosecute one's right, you know, even against a man whom 
one esteems and loves. But I see clearly now that this is the 
speech of a cunning fellow, who desires to put himself in 
such a position that he may not lose his case even when 
he loses it ; a selfish man, who tries to win back by a 



174 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act IIL 



marriage-contract what lie has lost through a verdict. 
There is my consideration ! Whether Lelio has given me 
an opportunity of arriving at this consideration or whether 
he has merely strengthened it does not concern you at all, 
and is solely and entirely my business. 

Lis. I have learnt by experience that whenever we 
girls defend our conduct with reasoning and by alleging 
ground for it, we are always wrong. So confess, therefore, 
to me that Lelio is the sole cause of your change of feeling. 
His society alone during the last few days has so capti- 
vated you, that you will neither read Leander's letters, 
nor grant him a secret meeting. How willingly you used 
to do both ! 

La. I do not wish to be reminded by you of faults 
which, as I said before, I should not have committed but 
for you. I regret sufficiently that I was so weak. 

Lis. To be weaker still and to give yourself up to a 
fickle youth whom you have only known for a week, and 
whose love you infer from a few meaningless flatteries. I 
advise you to be careful, Miss. 



Scene II. — Wumshater, Lisette, Laura. 

Wu. Well? Have you scratched poor Herr Solbist's 

eyes out ? 

Lis. If he had not already gone, who knows what she 
would have done ? 

Wu. Oh I fully believe, that, like a good daughter, 
she wishes all ill-luck to the man who has set her honest 
father free from two troubles at once, from a woman and 
a lawsuit. But whether you grudge me this good for- 
tune or not, I don't intend to give it up. You must 
become Leander's wife or cease to be my daughter. 

La. That is a hard alternative ! Nevertheless I shall 
take the liberty of telling you that I prefer your first order, 
and will go with my brother. I cannot change my mind as 
quickly as you change yours. Perhaps, though, some one 
has been trying to convince you that I love Leander. 

Wu. That has not been considered at all; all the 
better if you don't love him. Woman's love is, in truth, 



Scene IV.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



175 



mere folly, and, with, your sex, to love only means to hate 
less. You are unable to love anyone but yourselves. 

Lis. (breaks out at him). No, sir, no ! That is too bad ! 
Your daughter, I agree, is wrong not to accept the hus- 
band you offer her, but you must not slander the whole 
sex on that account. 

Wu. Whew ! Now it's time I was off. I had sooner 
get between mill-wheels, than between two women. 
Silence, pray, silence ! My daughter can answer well 
enough for herself. 

Scene III. — Valer, Wumshater, Lisette, Laura. 

Va. Father, Lelio's sister has just come. She is staying 
with a relative who lives here, and has already sent to me. 
I am expecting her every minute. I hope you are still 
willing to allow nie to present her to you. 

"Wu. I should like to see her once, were it only for the 
sake of the asserted resemblance. But not more than once. 
Bring her. I will tell her myself, as gently as possible, 
that she is not to count on you. 

La. What, brother? Your Hilaria is here, and you 
did not prepare me for her coming by a single word ? 

Va. You will not take it ill, sister. I did not want to 

tell you anything before it was certain You will 

have far more to wonder at than her mere arrival, how- 
ever ; her marvellous likeness to her brother What 

do I see ? Heavens ! Here she is herself. 

Scene IV. — Lelio (in her true character as Hilaria), 
Valer, Wumshater, Lisette, Laura. 

Va. Oh ! most lovely Hilaria, how joyful, how happy 
you make me ! How am I to thank you enough for deign- 
ing to visit a family which is already proud in anticipation 
of a nearer connection with you 1 

Le. Permit me, Valer, to leave your flattery unan 
swered for the present, and first of all to show my respect 
for one (to Wumshater) who is so kind as to allow me to 
love him as a father. 

Wu. I am plea .... very displea .... not alto- 



176 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III 



gether displeased, Mademoiselle, to make your acquaint- 
ance ; but I must tell you at the very commencement, 
that you are going a little too fast. I am already called 
father by two 

Ya. (to Lklio). And his only wish is to be acknow- 
ledged as such by you also 

Wu. No, my son, no. 

Ya. (leading Hilaria to Laura). Permit, permit a 
sister, Hilaria, who can no longer restrain her joy to 
embrace you. 

Le. (embracing her). I take the liberty, lovely Laura, 
to ask for your friendship ? 

La. I am ashamed of having allowed you to anticipate 
me in this request. 

Ya. Well, father, are you not astounded at the likeness 
of H ilaria to her brother ? 

La. Certainly, one cannot but be astounded. I cannot 
look at him enough. Where is Herr Lelio ? W^hy cannot 
we have the pleasure of comparing him with this counter- 
part? 

Wu. If only Lelio were here ; if only he were here ! I 
don't know where your eyes can be, good people. I won't 
go so far as to say that you have no resemblance at all to 
your brother, Mademoiselle, but one really has to look 
closely to perceive the likeness. In the first place, Lelio 
is at least a hand-breadth taller, in spite of the high 
heels of your shoes. 

Le. And yet we have measured ourselves togther s 
hundred times, and have not been able to discover the 
smallest difference. 

Wu. My eye does not deceive me ; I can trust it. For 
another thing, Herr Lelio is not quite so stout ; he is 
slenderer and better formed, though he wears no stays. 
I do not mean to offend you in this, Mademoiselle, but 
merely to do justice to your brother. 

La. I cannot agree with you, father. It is indeed 
true that one could hardly find a finer figure in any man 
than in Herr Lelio; but look carefully. Hilaria has 
exactly the same figure, only that, owing to the tightness 
of her dress, she appears rather to be slimmer than stouter. 

Wu. And the face 



Scene IV.] THE WOMAN-HATER. 



177 



Va. Well? The face? 

Wu. I won't mention it. Lelio has a fresh natural 
colour, but on your face, Mademoiselle, why, the rouge lies 
inches deep. 

Le. Though I don't think that it is unallowable for a 
girl to rouge a little, still I have never yet thought proper 
to come to the assistance of my countenance in this way. 
I don't wish to say this to praise myself ; for perhaps 
what others do from pride, I have left undone from greater 
pride. 

Wu. I understand, I understand .... The eyes, my 
son. Have you not noticed yet that these are grey eyes, 
while Lelio's are black ? 

Va. W r hat do you say ? These eyes grey ? 

Wu. Certainly, grey eyes, and, besides, they are just 
as languid as Lelio's are fiery. 

La. Oh, father ! 

Wu. Oh, daughter ! Hold your tongue. I know quite 
well that hawks don't pick out hawks' een. You, of course, 
want her one day to call your yellow eyes black. Are you 
going to make me blind? And this nose .... Lelio 
hasn't a little stumpy, hooked nose like this. Will you 
deny that, too ? 

Va. I am astonished ! 

Wu. You must be astonished at your own delusion. 
The mouth, too, is twice as big as Lelio's. What a 
prominent lip ! What a pointed chin ! The right shoulder 
is a hand-breadth higher than the left ! .... In a word, 
my son, the asserted resemblance was a trick to coax your 
father into giving his consent. And, in truth, it would 
have been a great point against me, if it had really been as 
you said. So much the better that it is not so, and that 
it is more probable now that in a body which differs so 
greatly from that of the brother, there will also dwell a 
totally different soul. Your brother, Mademoiselle, is an 
intelligent young man, who knows and approves of the 
reasons which make it impossible for me to assent to my 
son's marrying. He will therefore quite excuse me for 
treating you with so little ceremony. I cannot stay any 
longer now, but must give my attention to set* ling matters 
—the sooner the better — with Leander. 5Tou, Laura, 

VOL. II. » 




178 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 

prepare yourself. I can't let her go with you now, Valer ; 
1 can win my lawsuit here by her, and that is of most 
importance. 

La. Do not allow yourself to be deluded, brother ; I 
certainly shall go with you. Your lawsuit is lost, if you 
are to win it through me. 

Wtr. Keep your contradictions for your husband. (Exit.) 

Scene V. — Lelio, Valer, Laura, Lisette. 

La. We must feel ashamed, brother, that so amiable 
a guest has been so badly received by our father. You 
must be very sure of your Hilaria's love, to have dared 
to put her patience to this painful test. 

Le. You have a very kind sister, Valer ; her politeness 
would embarrass me, did I not know in what estimation 
my brother has the good fortune to stand with her. You 
like him, sweet Laura, and this conquest was the first 
thing which he told me of, with an air of triumph, on my 
arrival. He is indeed worthy that a girl should sigh for 
him. But, all the same, take care ; he is a little traitor, 
and doesn't make the least scruple of being inconstant. 
If you don't know how to keep a firm hold of him, he 
will be out of the net before you expect it. Besides, he is 
boastful, and I won't be certain that he will not boast of 
more favours than he has really received .... I take 
my leave of you for the present. Come, Valer. 

Scene VI. — Laura, Lisette. 

La. What is that? I think Lelio and Hilaria must be 
mad. How does he know that I. love him ? And, even 
if he could be sure of it, is it not a very unworthy trick 
to make a confidante of such an impertinent sister? Very 
well, my young friend, it is lucky that we have not yet 
gone very far ! But what are you standing there like that 
for, Lisette ? Are you petrified ? Speak, do ! 

Lis. I cannot yet quite make out what I have seen and 
heard. Give me a little time to recover from my astonish- 
ment. Who was the girl ? 

La. Hilaria ; you were looking at her hard enough the 



Scene VII.] THE WOMAN-HATER. 179 

whole time Wasn't she sufficiently like Lelio, that you 
should stiL doubt it ? 

Lis. She was only too like him ; so like, so exactly 
like, that I can't help wondering why you yourself have 
not had a suspicion 

La. A suspicion of what ? 

Lis. A suspicion which I will not he persuaded out of. 
Hilaria must be Lelio, or Lelio must be Hilaria. 
La. How do you mean ? 

Lis. You will do well to be on your guard, Miss. I 
will soon fathom this secret. But, until then, think 
of the dog with the piece of meat. You have a lover, of 
whom you are sure : don't turn round to the shadow of 
another. 

La. Be quiet with your childish stories. Be Lelio 
i what he may, he has lost me. He shall see ; he shall see, 
that one can forget a bit of a face like his more easily than 
another. 

Lis. Quite so. Especially when there are realities 
with the other, which certainly are wanting with him. 
For the more I think of it, the more probable it appears 
to me .... Hush ! Here comes the other face itself ! 
Show now that a little dandy like Lelio hasn't got much 
hold on us. 

Scene VII. — Wumshater, Leander, Laura, Lisette. 

Wu. Here, daughter, I bring you the husband to whom 
I resign all my rights in you. It is Herr Leander. 

Lea. I flatter myself, Mademoiselle, that you will not 
I regard me as a complete stranger. 

La. I could not have believed that the few occasions 
j on which we have had the opportunity of meeting in 
public places, could have made a man of Herr Leander's re- 
fined perception so confident of success. You have applied 
\ to my father in a matter about which you unquestionably 
ought first to have come to an agreement with me. 

Wu. Eh? Just fancy! So he ought to have made 
his application to you before, ought he ? 

Lis. (aside). As if he had not done so! Very well! 
! We must dissemble a little. 

Wu. I think you are very impertinent, and if I did not 

n 2 



180 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IIL 



wish to spare you in the presence of your bric/egroom, I 
would give you a very severe reprimand. 

Lea. It is true, lovely Laura, that my love has been much 
too impatient, and that you have a right to com plain of me. 

Wu. You surely are not going to apologize ? 

La. And the way, Herr Leander, in which Solbist 
wooed for me 

Wu. There was nothing objectionable in his way. And, 
in short, I wish you to obey me. Can I not demand that, 
my son ? 

Scene VIII. — Valer, Wumshater, Leander, Laura, 

LlSETTE. 

Va. If I have rightly guessed what you were speaking 
of, I will almost pledge myself for my sister's obedience. 

La. You are very bold, brother. I could much sooner 
pledge myself for your disobedience ; and make a safe bet 
thai, you were more likely to give me a sister-in-law, than 
1 to give you a brother-in-law. 

Lea. Is it possible, Mademoiselle ? 

Va. Do not be uneasy about that. 

Lea. But I hear 

Va. You hear the pruderies of a bride 

Wu. And I hear a woman's nonsense! Hold your 
tongue, hussy ! Your brother has far too much sense to 
be still thinking of marriage. 

Va. Excuse me, father. Since I must now forego the 
promised help of my sister, it is so much the more neces- 
sary to abide by the determination I came to before. I cer- 
tainly hope too that you will no longer be opposed to it. 
The whole town knows you to be a just man. But what 
would people say if it came out that you had highly 
esteemed the very same qualities and perfections in one per- 
son, which in another you depreciated ? What would people 
say if they learnt that deep-rooted rancour against a whole 
sex, by whom you believe yourself to be injured, should 
have prevented you from recognising that which the whole 
world recognises ? Such an obvious resemblance 

Wu. Hold your tongue about your chimerical resem- 
blance ! Or will you force me te make you ridiculous in 
Herr Leander's eyes too ? Indeed, 1 shall have to do it. 



Scene IX.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



181 



Herr Leander, you shall be arbitrator between us. Go, 
bring your Hilaria here, but bring her brother as well. 
"We will make a fair comparison. 

Va. I agree, father. Lisette, run quickly to Herr 
Lelio's room. You will find them together. Request them 
to come here. (Exit Lisette.) 

Wu. You will see, Herr Leander, that I am right. 

Lea. (whispers to Yaler). May your trick succeed as 
well as mine has. 

Ya. (whispers to Leander). I hope so, my dearest friend, 
and I thank you. 

Wu. (seeing Leander and Yaler talking together). No, 
that is not fair ; you mustn't talk it over together before- 
hand. I hope, Herr Leander, that the first test of your 
uprightness, which I demand from you 

Lea. Fear nothing. I shall not depart from the truth 
if the matter should depend on my decision. But I hope 
it will not do so. 

Wu. How so? Do you know already what our dis- 
pute is about? The sister is said to be exactly like 
the brother, and because I like the brother he requires me 
to like the sister also. 

Va. Have I not a right to require it ? 

Wu. Granted the likeness, you could require it with 
some right. But that likeness is the very point in dispute. 

Ya. We shall not dispute about it much longer, and I 
am convinced that you will at last have to acknowledge it. 

Wu. I certainly shall not acknowledge it. But if 1 do, 
it will be a sure proof that I have lost sense and reason, and 
that therefore you are not bound to obey me in the least. 

Va. Mark that, Herr Leander ; that I am not bound to 
obey him in the least, in case he has to admit the likeness 
himself. 

Wu. Ay, mark it! ... . Eh? What masquerading 
is this? 

Scene IX. — Lelio or Hilaria, Lisette, Wumshater, 
Valer, Laura, Leander. 

Le. (attired partly as a man, partly as a woman, the dress 
arranged according to the taste of the actress). You requested, 
sir, to see Lelio and Hilaria both at once. 



182 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



Wu. Eh ? My mind misgives me. 
Le. Here they both are. 
Wu. What? 

Lis. Yes, sir, here they both are, and you were 
caught. 

Wu. What? I caught? 

Lis. (whispers to Laura). Wasn't I right, Miss ? You 
start? 

Wu. I caught ? How am I to understand that ? 

Le. You will have the goodness to understand it thus : 
that the same person cannot be a hand-breadth taller than 
she really is. 

Wu. Well? 

Le. That the very same eyes cannot be both grey and 
black. 

Wu. Well? 

Le. That the very same nose 

Va. In short, dearest father (throwing himself at his feet), 
forgive my innocent trick. Lelio is Hilaria, and Hilaria 
only had the kindness to follow me hither in man's clothes 
that she might have the opportunity of gaining the good- 
will of a man whose inexorable feeling against her sex 
she well knew. 

Wu. Get up, my son, get up, and let us have an end of 
this nonsense. 1 see clearly how it is. Your Hilaria is 
not here at all, and that frivolous Lelio, with his girl's 
face, has played her part. Fie, Lelio ! (advancing to- 
wards her). No, no ! One doesn't deceive me so easily. 
Take o& that second dress, my good .... (is going to 
slap her on the shoulder). Heavens ! What do I see ? Alas, 
my poor eyes ! what has come to them ? It is a woman ! 
It really is a woman ! And probably the most deceitful, 
artful, and dangerous one in the whole world. I have 
been deceived ! I have been betrayed ! My son, my son, 
how could you do this ? 

Va. Let me once more ask for pardon at your feet. 

Wu. What is the good of my pardon to you, if you will 
no longer follow my advice? Of course I forgive you, 
but 

Le. I too pray most humbly for forgiveness 

Wu. Go, do ; go, do ; I forgive you too .... since I must. 



Scene IX.] 



THE WOMAN-HATER. 



183 



Va. Not because you must, father. Don't let us hear 
such painful words. Forgive us because you love us. 

Wu. Well, then, yes, because I love you. 

Le. And will soon love me, as I sincerely hope. 

Wu. You hope too much. Not to hate you will be all 
that I can do. I see clearly a man must fall in love, and 
must be foolish. What can I do against fate ? Be you so 
too, my son. Be foolish ! Through our folly we most 
surely become wise. Go in peace ! I am glad at least 
that I need not be an eye-witness of your folly. See 
only that my daughter no longer opposes me 

La. Do not fear, father. I will not cause a second 
vexation. I give Herr Leander my hand, and would have 
given it to him even if Lelio had not been Hilaria. (To 
Hilaria.) This is for you, for your triumphant air ? . 

Le. Are you angry with me, dearest Laura? (To Le- 
ander.) However did you set about it, sir, that you were 
able to move such a stony heart to love? If you knew 
what assaults I made on it in my disguise, and how 
sturdily it nevertheless 

La. Stop, Hilaria, or I shall really be angry. (To 
Leander, who is about to answer Hilaria.) Don't answer her, 
Leander ; I promise you that you shall never have a more 
dangerous rival than Lelio was. 

Lea. How happy am I ! 

Va. And how happy I am too ! 

Wu. In a year or so I hope you will exclaim differently ! 

Lis. Differently certainly, especially if more voices 
join in. (To the audience!) Laugh, gentlemen, pray; this 
comedy ends like a marriage-song. 



THE JEWS. 

(A COMEDY IN ONE ACT.) 
The 'Jews' was written at Berlin in the year 1749, 



DRAMATIS PERSONS 



Michel Stich. 
Martin Krumm. 
A Traveller. 
Christoph, his servant. 
The Baron. 

A young Lady, his daughter. 
Lisette, a maid-servant. 



THE JEWS. 



Scene I. — Michel Stich, Martin Krumm. 

Krumm. You stupid Michel Stich ! 

Stich. You stupid Martin Krumm ! 

Krumm. Let's confess we have both been extremely 
stupid. What would it have mattered, whether we had 
killed one more, or not ? 

Stich. And how could we have managed it more pru- 
dently ? Were we not well disguised ? Was not the 
coachman on our side? and was it our fault that chance 
played us such a trick ? Have I not said many a hundred 
times, "What infernal luck!" Without luck one cannot 
even be a good pickpocket. 

Krumm. Never mind. If viewed in the right light, we 
have only escaped the gallows for a few days longer. 

Stich. Ah, the devil take the gallows ! If all thieves 
were hung, the gallows would have to stand thicker. One 
hardly sees one in two miles, and, where there is one, it 
stands unoccupied. I believe the judges, for politeness' 
sake, will abolish the things altogether. And what is the 
use of them, after all? None at all, except at most that, 
when one of us passes by, he shuts his eyes. 

Krumm. Oh, I don't even do that. My father and 
grandfather died on the gallows ; can I ask a better fate ? 
I am not ashamed of my parents. 



188 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene H. 



Stich. But honest people will be ashamed of you. You 
have not done nearly enough yet for one to recognise their 
genuine offspring in you. 

Krumm. Don't fancy that our master is going to get 
off in this way. And I will surely revenge myself, too, 
on that confounded stranger, who snatched so savoury a 
morsel from our mouths. His watch he shall leave me, 
as sure as ... . Ha ! see, there he's coming. Quick, away. 
I'll now perform my masterpiece. 

Stich. But halves, halves ! 

Scene II. — Martin Krumm, the Traveller. 

Krumm (aside). I will play the blockhead. (Aloud) Your 
most obedient servant, sir. I am Martin Krumm, and am 
the legally appointed bailiff of this property. 

Trav. I believe you, my friend. But have you not 
seen my servant ? 

Krumm. At your service, no. But I have had the honour 
to hear much good of your honourable person ; and I am 
thus much pleased that I have the honour to enjoy the 
honour of your acquaintance. I am told that you deli- 
vered our master from a very great danger last night. 
And as I cannot but rejoice at the good fortune of our 
master, I rejoice 

Trav. I guess your intention. You wish to thank me 
for having assisted your master. 

Krumm. Yes ; quite right ; just so. 

Trav. You are an honest man. 

Krumm. That I am. And honesty is the best policy. 

Trav. It is no small pleasure to me to have obliged so 
many honest people by so trifling an action. Their grati- 
tude is a more than sufficient reward for what I have done. 
Love of mankind obliged me to do it. It was my duty, 
and I could not but have been satisfied if it had been con- 
sidered nothing more. You are too kind, my dear people, 
to thank me for any service which, without doubt, you 
would have rendered as zealously to me, if I had found 
myself in a similar danger. Can I serve you in anything 
else, my friend? 

Krumm. Oh 1 with serving I will not trouble you, sir. 



Scene II.] 



THE JEWS. 



189 



I have my man who waits upon me, when necessary. But 
. . . . I should like to know how it happened? Where was 
it ? Were there many thieves ? Did they intend to murder 
our good master, or did they only wish to take his money ? 
The latter would have been better than the former. 

Trav. I will tell you the whole incident in a few 
words. It must be about an hour's walk from here, where 
the robbers had attacked your master, in a narrow pass. 
I was journeying along the same road, and his piteous 
cries for help induced me to hasten towards the spot with 
my servant. 

Krumm. Ah, ah ! 

Trav. I found him in an open carriage 

Krumm. Ah, ah ! 

Trav. Two fellows in disguise 

Krumm. Disguised ? Ah, ah ! 

Trav. Were already handling him roughly 

Krumm. Ah, ah ! 

Trav. Whether they intended to kill him, or only to 
bind him in order to rob him the more securely, I don't 
know. 

Krumm. Ah, ah ! No doubt they intended to kill him, 
the godless wretches. 

Trav. That I will not maintain, lest I might wrong 
them. 

Krumm. Yes, yes, believe me. They wished to kill 
him. I know, 1 am quite certain 

Trav. But how can you know it ? But let it. be so. 
As soon as the robbers perceived me, they quitted their 
booty, and escaped as fast as they could into the forest 
hard by. I discharged my pistol at one of them, but as 
it was already too dark, and he too far off, I doubt whether 
I hit him. 

Krumm. No ; you did not hit him 

Trav. Do you know that ? 

Krumm. I merely fancy so, because it was already dark, 
and in the dark, I am told, one cannot aim well. 

Trav. I cannot describe to you how grateful your 
master was to me. He called me his preserver a hundred 
times, and obliged me to return with him to his country 
seat. I sincerely wish circumstances would permit me 



190 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene II. 



to remain longer with this amiable man ; but as it is, I 
must proceed on my journey this very day. And it is on 
that account that I am looking for my servant. 

Krumm. Oh, do not hasten away yet. Stay a few 
moments longer. Well, what else was I going to ask? 
The robbers — yes, tell me, what did they look like? How 
were they dressed ? They were disguised ; but how ? 

Trav. Your master maintains that they were Jews. 
Beards they had, 'tis true; but their language was the 
common dialect used among the peasantry here. If they 
were disguised, as I certainly believe, twilight rendered 
them a good service. But I don't understand how Jews 
should be able to make the roads unsafe, since so few of 
them are suffered to remain in this country. 

Krumm. Yes, yes. I believe, too, they were Jews. 
You may not be well acquainted with these wicked 
people yet. All of them, without exception, are cheats, 
thieves, and robbers. That is why they are a people 
whom the Lord our God has cursed. If I were king, 
I should not leave a single one of them alive. Oh, 
may the Lord guard all honest Christians against these 
people ! If the Lord our God did not hate them, why should 
twice as many Jews as Christians have perished in the acci- 
dent at Breslau, a short time ago ? Our clergyman very 
wisely reminded us of this in his last sermon. It seems 
as if they had been listening to him, and wished to be 
revenged for this very reason on our good master. Oh ! 
my dear sir, if you desire prosperity and happiness in this 
world, beware of the Jews, more than of the plague. 

Trav. Would to God that this was only the language 
of the vulgar ! 

Krumm. For example, sir. I was once at a fair .... yes, 
when I think of that fair, I wish I could poison the cursed 
Jews all at one stroke. In the crowd they had robbed one 
of his pocket-handkerchief, another of his snuff-box, a third 
of his watch, and I don't know what more. They are quick, 
devilish quick, when a theft is the question ; more dex- 
terous than our schoolmaster ever is on his organ. For 
example, sir, at first they press closely upon you, almost 
as I do now upon you 

Trav. Only with a little more politeness, my friend. 



Scene III.] 



THE JEWS. 



191 



Krumm. Oh, let me just show you. Well, when they 
are standing close by you, do you see, like lightning 
shoots a hand to your watch-pocket. (He puts his hand in the 
coat-pocket instead of the watch-pocket, and takes a snuff-box out 
of it.) Well, they do all that so cleverly, that one would 
swear that the hand goes this way, when in reality it goes 
that. When they are talking of the snuff-box, they are 
aiming at the watch ; and when they talk of the watch, 
they have designs on the snuff-box. (He makes straight for 
the watch, but is caught.) 

Trav. Stop, stop, what business has your hand here ? 

Krumm. Well, you may now perceive what a bungling 
pickpocket I should be. If a Jew had made such an 
attempt, it would doubtless have been all over with the 
watch. But I see you are weary of me, and therefore I 
take the liberty to withdraw ; and on account of the great 
benefit you have done my highly respected master, I shall 
remain my whole life your most obedient servant, Martin 
Krumm, legally appointed bailiff of this noble domain. 

Trav. Well, go, go. 

Krumm. Eemember what I have told you of the Jews. 
They are all wicked, thieving people. 

Scene III. — The Traveller. 

Trav. Perhaps this fellow, however stupid he is, or 
pretends to be, is a more wicked rascal than there ever 
was among the Jews. If a J ew cheats, at least seven times 
out of nine he has been driven to it by a Christian. I 
doubt whether many Christians can boast of having dealt 
uprightly with a Jew, and they are surprised if he en- 
deavours to render like for like. If good faith and honesty 
are to prevail between two different races, both must con- 
tribute equal shares. But how if the one considers it a 
point of religion and almost a meritorious work to perse- 
cute the other ? Yet 

Scene IV. — The Traveller, Christoph. 

Trav. Whenever one wants you, one always has to 
search an hour fcv you. 



192 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Scene IV. 



Chris. You are joking, master. I can only be in one 
place at one time, can I ? Is it my fault that you did 
not go to that place ? Surely you'll find me always where 
I am. 

Trav. Indeed ? And you are staggering too. I com- 
prehend now why you are so witty. Must you get drunk 
at this time of the morning ? 

Chris. Drunk, indeed ? I have hardly begun drinking. 
Except a couple of bottles of good country wine, a couple 
of glasses of gin, and a mouthful of bread, on the faith of 
an honest man, I have not taken anything at all. I have 
not broken my fast yet. 

Trav. Oh, that is evident enough, and I advise you, 
as a friend, to double your allowance. 

Chris. Excellent advice ! I shall not neglect to regard 
it, as in duty bound, as a command. I go, and you shall 
see how obedient I can be. 

Trav. Be prudent. You had better go and saddle the 
horses, and pack up our things. I wish to depart this very 
morning. 

Chris. If you advised me in joke to take a double 
breakfast, how can I imagine that you now speak in 
earnest ? You seem to wish to make merry with me to- 
day. Perhaps the young lady causes you to be so humo- 
rous ? Oh, she is a charming girl, only she ought to be 
a little older, a very little older, ought not she, master ? 
When ladies have not attained a certain maturity 

Trav. Go and do as I ordered you. 

Chris. You grow serious now. Nevertheless I'll wait for 
a third command. The point is of too much importance. 
You might have been too hasty, and I have always been 
accustomed to allow my masters time for consideration. 
Consider well before you quit a place so soon again, where 
we are living in clover. We arrived only yesterday, we 
have infinitely obliged our host, and yet have hardly en- 
joyed a supper and a breakfast with him. 

Trav. Your impudence is insufferable. When a man 
resolves to go into service, he ought to accustom himself 
to be more tractable. 

Chris. Good, sir. You begin to moralize ; that is, you 
are getting angry. Calm yourself, I am going 



Scene V.] 



THE JEWS. 



193 



Trav. You must be little accustomed to reflect. The 
service we have rendered to our host loses the name of a 
benefit as soon as we seem to expect the least reward. I 
ought not even to have allowed him to bring me here with 
him. The pleasure of having assisted a stranger without 
any ulterior design, is in itself very great. And he himself 
would have wished us more blessings than the excessive 
thanks he renders us now. The man whom we put under 
the obligation to thank us at some length and cost, renders 
us a counter-service which is perhaps more troublesome to 
him than our good action was to us. Most men are too 
corrupt not to feel the presence of a benefactor burdensome 
to them. It seems to humble their pride. 

Chris. Your philosophy, sir, deprives you of breath. 
Well, you shall see that I am as magnanimous as you. I 
go : in a quarter of an hour you shall be able to mount. 

Scene V. — The Traveller, the Young Lady. 

Trav. Little as I have deserved it of this fellow, he 
yet treats me but very rudely. 

Lady. Why do you keep away from us, sir ? Why are 
you here alone ? Has our society already become distaste- 
ful to you in the few hours you have spent here ? I should 
be very sorry for that. I endeavour to please everyone, 
and above all others I should like to please you. 

Trav. Pardon me, madam, 1 have merely been ordering 
my servant to get everything ready for our departure. 

Lady. What do you say ? For your departure ; when 
did you arrive ? If, after a twelvemonth, a melancholy hour 
had suggested such an idea to you, it might be pardoned. 
But now ? You won't stay a single day ; that is too bad. 
I tell you I shall be angry if you think of it again. 

Trav. You could use no threat that would affect me 
more deeply. 

Lady. Indeed! Do you mean that? Would you 
really be affected if I grew angry with you ? 

Trav. Who could remain indifferent to the anger of an 
amiable young lady ? 

Lady. What you say sounds almost as if you meant 
to laugh at me ; but I will accept it in earnest, even 

VOL. II. o 



194 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene VI 



though I may make a mistake in doing so. Therefore, sir 
— I am tolerably amiable, I am told — I tell you once more 
I shall be very angry, dreadfully angry, if you think again 
of your departure between now and the new year. 

Trav. The time is fixed with much consideration. In 
the midst of winter then, and the roughest weather, you 
would show me the door. 

Lady. Indeed, who said that? I only said, you might 
then perhaps think again of your departure for decorum's 
sake. But we shall not on that account allow you to go 
then ; we will entreat you 

Trav. Perhaps also for decorum's sake ? 

Lady. Ah ! one would not have believed that so honest 
a face could also ridicule .... But my papa is coming. 
I must go. Don't tell him I have been with you, please ! 
He reproaches me often enough with being fond of gentle- 
men's society. 

Scene VI. — The Baron, tlie Traveller. 

Baron. Was not my daughter with you ? Why does the 
wild child run off? 

Trav. To possess such an amiable and so merry a 
daughter is an inestimable fortune. She enchants one by 
her conversation, which is full of the sweetest innocence 
and most unaffected wit. 

Baron. You judge her too favourably. She has been 
little into society, and possesses but in small degree the 
art of pleasing — an art which can hardly be acquired in 
the country, yet which is often more powerful than Beauty 
herself. Untrammelled Nature alone has been her tutor. 

Trav. And this, but seldom met with in towns, is so 
much the more fascinating. There everything is feigned, 
forced, and acquired. Indeed, we have made such progress 
in this direction, that to be stupid, to be uncouth, and to 
be natural, are considered as phrases of the same meaning. 

Baron. What could be more agreeable to me than to 
find that our thoughts and opinions harmonize so well ? 
Would that I had had long ago a friend like you ! 

Trav. You are unjust towards your other friends. 

Baron. Towards my other friends, do you say ? I am 



Scene VI.] 



THE JEWS. 



195 



fifty years of age .... acquaintances I have had, but 
no friends. And friendship never appeared to me in so 
charming a garb, as during the few hours in which I have 
been endeavouring to obtain yours. How can I merit it ? 

Trav. My friendship is of so little importance, that 
the mere wish for it is a sufficient merit for obtaining it. 
Your request is of far more value than that which you 
request. 

Baron. Oh, sir ! the friendship of a benefactor 

Trav. Excuse me .... is no friendship. If you 

look at me in this false aspect, I cannot be your friend. 

Suppose, for a moment, I were your benefactor ; should I 

not have to fear that your friendship was nothing but 

gratitude ? 

Baron. But could not the two be united ? 

Trav. Hardly. A noble mind considers gratitude" its 
duty ; friendship requires voluntary emotions of the soul 
alone. 

Baron. But how ought I . . . . Your nice distinctions 
confuse me entirely. 

Trav. Only esteem me no more than I deserve. At 
most I am a man, who has done his duty with pleasure. 
Duty itself does not deserve gratitude. But for having 
done it with pleasure, I am sufficiently rewarded by your 
friendship. 

Baron. This magnanimity only confuses me the 
more. But I am, perhaps, too bold. I have not dared as 
yet to inquire your name, your rank. Perhaps I offer 
my friendship to a man who .... who, if he despises it, 
is 

Trav. Pardon me, sir. You .... you make .... 
you think too highly of me. 

Baron (aside). Shall I ask him ? He might feel offended 
at my curiosity. 

Trav. (aside). If he asks me, what shall I answer him ? 

Baron (aside). If I do not ask him, he may consider it 
rudeness. 

Trav. (aside). Shall I tell him the truth ? 
Baron (aside). But I will take the safest way. I'll first 
make inquiries of his servant. 

Tra^. (aside). How car I get out of this perplexity ? 

o 2 



19G 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene VI. 



Baron. Why so thoughtful ? 

Thav. I was just going to put the same question to 
you. 

Baron. I know now and then we forget ourselves. Let 
us speak of something else. Do you know that they were 
really Jews who attacked me ? Just now my bailiff told 
me, that some days ago he met three of them on the high 
road. According to his description they must have looked 
more like rogues than honest people. And why should I 
doubt it ? People so intent on gain care little whether 
they make money by fair means or foul — by cunning or 
force. They seem to be born for commerce, or, to speak 
more plainly, for cheating. Politeness, liberality, enter- 
prise, discretion, are qualities that would render this people 
estimable, if they did not use them entirely to our dis- 
advantage. (He pauses a moment.) The Jews have already 
been to me a source of no small mischief and vexation. 
When I was still in military service, I was persuaded to 
sign a bill in favour of one of my acquaintances, and the 
Jew on whom it was drawn not only made me pay the 
bill, but pay it twice. Oh ! they are the most wicked, 
the most base people ! What do you say ? You seem cast 
down. 

Trav. What shall I say ? I must confess I have often 
heard similar complaints. 

Baron. And is it not true, their countenance has some- 
thing that prejudices one against them ? It seems to me 
as if one could read in their eyes their maliciousness, un- 
scrupulousness, selfishness of character, their deceit and 
perjury. But why do you turn away from me ? 

Trav. I hear you are very learned in physiognomies ; 
I am afraid, sir, that mine 

Baron. Oh, you wrong me ! How could you entertain 
such a suspicion? Without being learned in physio- 
gnomies, I must tell you, I have never met with a more 
frank, generous, and pleasing countenance than yours. 

Trav. To tell you the truth, I do not approve of 
generalizations concerning a whole people. You will 
not feel offended at my liberty. I should think among all 
nations good and wicked are to be found. And among 
the Jews 



Scene VII.] 



THE JEWS. 



197 



Scene VII. — The Young Lady, the Traveller, 
the Baron. 

Lady. Oh, papa ! 

Baron. Well, wild puss ? Why did you run away from 
me ? What was that for ? 

Lady. I did not run away from you, papa ; but from 
your scoldings. 

Baron. The difference is very subtle. But what was it 
that deserved a scolding ? 

Lady. Oh ! you know. You saw it. I was with the 
gentleman ■ 

Baron. Well? And 

Lady. And the gentleman is a man ; and with men, 
you linve told me, I must not have too much to do. 

Baron. You ought to have seen that this gentleman is 
an exception. I could wish that he liked you. It will 
always give me pleasure to see you in his society. 

Lady. Oh, it will have been the first and the last time, 
I suppose. His servant is packing up. And that is what 
I came to tell you. 

Baron. What! Who? His servant? 

Trav. Yes, sir ; I ordered him to do so. My business, 
and the fear of causing you any trouble 

Baron. What in the world shall I think of this ? Shall 
I not have the happiness of proving to you that in me you 
have obliged a grateful heart ? Oh ! I entreat you to add 
to your benefit another, which will be not less estimable 
than the preservation of my life — remain with me a little 
time ; for a few days, at any rate. I would never forgive 
myself, if I allowed a man like you to leave me unknown, 
unhonoured, unrewarded, whon it lay in my power to act 
otherwise. I have invited some of my relations to spend 
the day with us, to share my joy with them, and to give 
them the good fortune of becoming acquainted with my 
guardian angel. 

Trav. Sir, 1 am forced 

Lady. To stay, sir ! To stay ! I will run to tell your 
servant to unpack again .... But there he is. 



198 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene VIII 



Scene VIII. — Christoph (booted and spurred, with two 
portmanteaux under his arm), the Young Lady, the 
Traveller, the Baron. 

Chris. Well, sir, ever} 7 thing is ready. Make haste ; 
shorten your farewell ceremonies a little. Of what use is 
so much talking, if we cannot stay ? 

Baron. What prevents you, then, from staying ? 

Chris. Certain considerations, my Lord Baron, founded 
on the obstinacy of my master, but for which his mag- 
nanimity is the pretext. 

Trav. My servant is sometimes rather silly ; pardon 
him. But I see that your entreaties are indeed more than 
mere compliments. I submit, lest, from fear of being rude, 
I should commit a rudeness. 

Baron. Oh, how grateful I am to you ! 

Trav. You may go and unsaddle ; we'll not depart until 
to-morrow. 

Lady. Well, don't you hear ? Why are you standing 
there ? You are to go and unsaddle. 

Chris. By rights I ought to be angry ; and I feel 
almost as if my wrath would break out. Yet since nothing 
worse follows than to remain here to eat and drink and 
be well treated, we'll let it pass. Otherwise, I am not at 
all fond of being troubled unnecessarily ; you know that. 

Trav. Silence ! you are too insolent. 

Chris. Because I tell the truth. 

Lady. Oh, how charming, that you will stay with us ! 
Now I like you twice as well. Come, I will show you 
our garden ; you will like it. 

Trav. If it will please you, it will certainly please me. 

Lady. Come, then, until dinner is ready. Papa, you 
permit us, don't you ? 

Baron. I will even accompany you. 

Lady. No, no ! we will not trouble you to do that ; you 
have plenty to do. 

Baron. I have now no more important business than 
to please my guest. 

Lady. He will not be offended — would you, sir? 
(Whispering.) Say no, do. I should like to go alone 
with you. 



Scene IX.] 



THE JEWS. 



199 



Trav. I should repent of having given my consent to 
stay so easily, if I should occasion you the least trouble. 
I therefore beg 

Baron. Oh ! why do you take any notice of the child's 
words ? 

Lady. Child ! Papa ! Don't make me blush. The 
gentleman will imagine me ever so young. Don't mind 
him ; I am old enough to go for a walk with you. 
Come. But just look, your servant is still standing there 
with the portmanteaux under his arm. 

Chris. I should think that only concerned him who had 
to carry them. 

Trav. Hold your tongue ! People show you too much 
consideration. 

Scene IX. — Lisette, Christoph, the Young Lady, ' the 
Traveller, the Baron. 

Baron (perceiving Lisette coming). Sir, I shall follow 
you immediately, if you will be pleased to conduct my 
daughter to the garden. 

Lady. Oh, stay as long as you please. We shall amuse 
ourselves. Come. (Exeunt the Young Lady and the 
Traveller.) 

Baron. Lisette, I have something to say to you. 
Lis. Well? 

Baron (whispering). I don't know yet who our guest is. 
For certain reasons 1 don't like to ask him. Could not 
you learn from his servant ? 

Lis. Oh ! I know what you want. My own curiosity 
has already urged me to do that, and I have come here 
for that very reason. 

Baron. Well, try your best and let me know. You 
will earn my thanks. 

Lis. All right ; go now. 

Chris. You will not be offended then, sir, that we are 
pleased to stay. But don't inconvenience yourself at all on 
my account, I beg. I am contented with everything. 

Baron. Lisette, I leave him under your care. Let him 
want for nothing. (Exit.) 

Chris. I recommend myself then to your care, ma- 
demoiselle, you who are to let me want for nothing. (Is 
going.) 



200 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene X. 



Scene X. — Lisette, Christoph. 

Lis. (stopping him). No, sir, I cannot allow you to be 
so impolite. Am I not woman enough to be worthy of a 
little conversation ? 

Chris. The deuce, mistress, you take things too 
literally. Whether you are woman enough, or perhaps 
too much, I cannot say. But judging from your loquacity 
I should almost affirm the latter. But be that as it may, 
I hope you will dismiss me now ; you see my hands and 
arms are full. As soon as I am hungry or thirsty I'll 
come to you. 

Lis. Our watchman does the same. 

Chris. The deuce ! He must be a clever fellow, if he 
does as I do. 

Lis. If you would like to make his acquaintance, he is 
chained up in the back-yard. 

Chris. The devil ! I verily believe you mean the dog. 
I see, you thought I meant bodily hunger and thirst ; but 
that was not what I meant. I spoke of the hunger and 
thirst of love. That, mistress, that. Are you satisfied 
with my explanation? 

Lis. Better than with what it explains. 

Chris. Now, in confidence ; do you mean to imply by 
that, that a declaration of love from me would not be dis- 
agreeable to you ? 

Lis. Perhaps. Will you make me one ? Seriously? 

Chris. Perhaps. 

Lis. Ugh ! What an answer ! " Perhaps !" 

Chris. And yet there was not a hair's-breadth dif- 
ference between yours and mine. 

Lis. But from my mouth it means something quite 
different. A woman's greatest pledge is " perhaps." For 
however bad our cards may be, we must never allow 
anyone to see them. 

Chris. Well, if that's the case! But let's come to 
business. (He throws the two portmanteaux on the ground.) 
I don't know why I troubled myself so long. There they 
lie ... . I love you, mistress. 

Lis. I call that saying much in a few words. We'll 
dissect it. 



Scene X.] 



THE JEWS. 



201 



Chris. No, we'll rather leave whole. But, that we 
may acquaint each other with our thoughts at leisure, be 
good enough to take a seat. Standing fatigues me. Make 
no ceremony. (Makes her sit upon the portmanteau.) I love 
you, mistress. 

Lis. But . . . . my seat is desperately hard. I believe 
there are books in it. 

Chkis. Yes ; full of wit and tenderness, and nevertheless 
you consider it a hard seat. That is my master's travelling 
library. It consists of comedies moving to tears, and 
tragedies moving to laughter ; of tender epics, and philo- 
sophic drinking songs, and I don't know what more 
novelties. But we'll change. Take my seat ; make no 
ceremony ; mine is the softest. 

Lis. Pardon me, I will not be so rude. 

Chris. Make no ceremony, no compliments. Well, if 
you won't go, I shall carry you. 

Lis. Well, if you order it. (Is going to change her seat.) 

Chris. Order ! Good gracious, no ! Order means a 
great deal. If you mean to take it so, you had better 
keep your seat. (He sits down again.) 

Lis. (aside). The uncivil brute ! But no matter. 

Chris. Well, where did we stop? Yes ! I have it; we 
stopped at love. I love you, then, mistress. Je vous aime, 
I should say if you were a French marquise. 

Lis. The deuce ! Are you a Frenchman, then ? 

Chris. No, I must confess, to my own disgrace, I am 
only a German. But I had the good luck to be able to 
associate with some French gentlemen, from whom I have 
learned how an honest fellow ought to behave. I think, 
too, that one can see it in me at a glance. 

Lis. You have come then from France, with your master ? 

Chris. Oh, no ! 

Lis. Where from, then ? Perhaps 

Chris. It is some miles further than France, where we 
come from. 

Lis. Not from Italy ? 

Chris. Not very far from there. 

Lis. From England, then ? 

Chris. Almost. England is a province of the country. 
Our home is more than two hundred miles from here. But 



202 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XL 

"by Jove ! my horses ; the poor beasts are still in their 
harness. Pardon me, mistress. Quick! get up! (He 
takes the portmanteaux under his arm.) In spite of my 
fervent love I must go, and first attend to what is neces- 
sary. We have yet the whole day before us, and, what's 
better still, the whole night. I see we shall get on 
together. I shall know where to find you again. 



Scene XI. — Martin Krumm, Lisette. 

Lis. I shall not get much information from him. He 
is either too stupid, or too cunning ; and neither quality 
is easy to fathom. 

Krumm. Ah, Miss Lisette ! So that is the fellow who 
is to cut me out. 

Lis. There was no need for him to do that. 

Krumm. No need ? And I was fancying how firmly I 
was rooted in your heart. 

Lis. Of course, Herr Bailiff, you were fancying. People 
like yourself have the right to fancy absurdities. So 
I am not at all angry that you thought so, but that 
you have told me of it. I should like to know what you 
have to do with my heart ? With what kindness, with 
what presents have you acquired a right to it ? We don't 
give away our hearts so recklessly in these days. And do 
you think I am in distress about mine ? I do not doubt I 
shall find an honest man for it, before I cast it to the 
swine. 

Krumm. The devil! that is a tweak for my nose. I 
must take a pinch of snuff ; perhaps it will go off again 
with the sneezing. (Re pulls the stolen swiff-box out of his 
pocket, plays a little with it, and at last takes a pinch in a 
grandiose fashion.) 

Lis. (giving a sidelong glance at him). Confound it ! 
Where has the fellow got that snuff-box ? 

Krumm. Will you take a pinch ? 

Lis. Oh ! your most obedient servant, Herr B nil iff. 
(She takes a pinch.) 

Krumm. What power a silver snuff-box has! Could 
an earwig be more pliant ? 



Scene XL 



THE JEWS. 



203 



Lis. Is it a silver snuff-box ? 

Krumm. Were it not a silver one, Martin Krumm would 
not have it. 

Lis. May I look at it ? 

Krumm. Yes ; but only in my hands. 

Lis. The shape is excellent. 

Krumm. Yes ; it weighs full five ounces. 

Lis. If it was only for the shape, I should like to have 
such a box. 

Krumm. When I have it melted, the shape will be at 
your service. 

Lis. You are much too kind, sir. Without doubt it is 

a present ? 

Krumm. Yes, it did not cost me a farthing. 

Lis. Indeed, such a present might easily dazzle a 
woman. You can make your fortune with it, Herr Bailiff. 
I at least should defend myself very badly if I were 
attacked with silver boxes. With such a box a sweetheart 
might easily win his game. 

Krumm. I understand. I understand. 

Lis. As it costs you nothing, I should advise you, 
Herr Bailiff, to make a good friend by it. 

Krumm. I see. I see. 

Lis. (insinuatingly). Would not you give it to me ? 

Krumm. Oh, I beg your pardon. One does not give 
away silver snuff-boxes so recklessly in these days. And 
do you think, Miss Lisette, that I am in distress about 
mine ? I do not doubt I shall meet with an honest man for 
it, before I cast it to the swine. 

Lis. Has anyone ever heard such stupid impertinence? 
To compare a heart with a snuff-box ! 

Krumm. Yes, a stony heart with a silver snuff-box. 

Lis. It might perhaps cease to be stony if ... . But 
all my talking is in vain. You are not worthy of my 
love. What a kind-hearted fool I am ! (Begins to cry.) I 
had almost believed the bailiff was one of those honest 
people who mean what they say. 

Krumm. And what a kind-hearted fool I am to believe 
that a woman means what she says ! There, my Lizzy, 
don't cry. (Gives her the snuff-box.) But now I hope I am 
worthy of your love. To begin with, I ask nothing but a 



204 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XIII. 



kiss on your beautiful hand. (He Jcisses her hand.) Ah ! 
how sweet ! 

Scene XII. — The Youxg Lady, Lisette, Martin Krumm, 

Lady (softly approaching pushes down his head on to Li- 
sette's hand). Indeed, Herr Bailiff! Come, kiss my hand 
also. 

Lis. Botheration ! 

Krumm. With all my heart, madam. (Is going to kiss 
her hand.) 

Lady (gives him a box on his ear). You stupid clown, 
don't you understand a joke? 

Krumm. The devil ! 'Tis a queer way of joking. 

Lis. (laughing). Ha ! ha ! ha ! Oh, how I pity you, my 
dear bailiff ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Krumm. What, you are laughing, too, are you ! Is that 
my reward? Very well, very well. (Exit.) 

Lis. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Scene XIII. — Lisette, the Young Lady. 

Lady. I never would have believed it, Lisette, if I had 
not seen it myself. You allow yourself to be kissed — 
and by the bailiff? 

Lis. I don't know what right you have to spy on me ? 
I thought you had gone for a walk with the stranger in 
the garden. 

Lady. Yes ; and I should be with him still, if my 
papa had not joined us; and then I could not speak a 
single reasonable word with him. My papa is much too 
serious. 

Lis. What do you call a reasonable word ? And what 
can you have to tell him, that your papa must not hear ? 

Lady. A thousand things. But I shall be angry if 
you ask any more questions. Let it suffice ; I like the 
strange gentleman. That I may be permitted to confess, 
I suppose. 

Lis. You would quarrel dreadfully with your papa, 
I suppose, if he were to choose such a husband for 
you some day ? But, joking aside, who knows what he 



Scene XIV.] 



THE JEWS. 



205 



intends to do? What a pity you are not a few years 
older ! Things might soon be settled then. 

Lady. Oh, if my age is the only obstacle, papa can 
make me a few years older, and I certainly shall not 
contradict him. 

Lis. No ; I know of a better way. I'll give you a few 
of my years, and that will serve us both. I bhall no longer 
be too old, nor you too young. 

Lady. That is true ; that will do. 

Lis. See ! the stranger's servant is coming here. I 
must speak to him. It is all for your good. Will you 
leave me alone with him ? Go now. 

Lady. Yes ; but don't forget about the years. Do you 
hear, Lisette? 

Scene XIY. — Lisette, Cheistoph. 

Lis. You must be either hungry or thirsty, sir, that 
you come again already ? Eh ? 

Chris. Yes, indeed. But mind how I have explained 
hunger and thirst. To tell you the truth, my dear young 
woman, as soon as I dismounted yesterday, I cast my eye 
on you. But thinking to remain here only a few hours, 
I thought it would not be worth while to make your ac- 
quaintance. Whas could we have done in so short a time ? 
We should have had to begin our novel at the wrong 
end. And it is not safe to pull the cat out of the stove by 
the tail. 

Lis. True enough ; but now we can proceed more ac- 
cording to rule. You can make a proposal ; I can reply to 
it. I can raise scruples ; you can overcome them. We may 
' deliberate at each step, and need not sell one another a 
pig in a poke. If you had made me your offer yesterday 
at once, I must confess, I should have accepted it. But 
only fancy how much I should have staked, if I had had 
no time to inquire about your rank, fortune, country, 
employments, and such like. 

Chris. The deuce ! But would that have been neces- 
sary ? Such a fuss ! You could not make much more, if 
you were going to be married. 

Lis. Oh ! if it had been a mere marriage, it would be 



206 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. i Scene XIV. 



ridiculous to be so conscientious on my part. But a love 
affair is quite another thing. The least trifle is of the 
greatest importance. And therefore don't fancy that you 
will obtain the least favour from me, if you do not satisfy 
my curiosity in every respect. 

Chris. Well ; and how far does it go ? 

Lis. Since a servant is best judged by his master, before 
anything else I wish to know 

Chris. Who my master is ? Ha ! ha ! that's good. 
You ask me a question which I should like to ask you, 
if I thought you knew more about it than I did. 

Lis. And do you really think to get off with this miser- 
able subterfuge ? In short, I must know who your master 
is, or there's an end to our friendship. 

Chris. I have not known my master longer than four 
weeks. So long it is, since I entered his service at Ham- 
burg. I have come with him from that place, but have 
never taken the trouble to inquire for his rank or name. 
But so much is quite certain ; he must be rich, for he has 
not let either himself or me want for anything on our 
journey. And why should I care about anything else ? 

Lis. What can 1 hope from your love, if you won't even 
trust such a trifle to my discretion ? 1 should never treat 
you in such a way. For example, you see this handsome 
silver snuff-box 

Chris. Eeally ! Well? 

Lis. You only need to beg me, and I'll tell you from 
whom I have got it. 

Chris. Oh, that is not of much consequence to me. I'd . 
rather know who is to get it from you. 

Lis. I have not exactly settled that point yet. But if 
you don't get it, it will be no one's fault but your own. 
I certainly should not leave your openness unrewarded. 

Chris. Or rather my loquacity. But as I am an honest 
fellow, if I am silent now, it is from necessity, for, indeed, 
I don't know what I can tell you. Confound it ! How 
willingly I would pour j>ut my secrets if I only had any ! 

Lis. Good-bye ! ITS not assail your virtue any longer. 
But I wish it may help you soon to a silver snuff-box and 
a sweetheart, as it has now deprived you of them. (Is going.) 

Chrjs. Come, come ; patience ! (Aside.) I see I must 



Scene XV.] 



THE JEWS. 



207 



tell a lie, for I really cannot let such a present escape. 
Besides, what harm can it do ? 

Lis. Well, will you explain yourself more frankly? 
But I see. You do not like it. No, no, I don't want to 
know anything 

Chris. Yes, yes ; you shall know everything ! (Aside.) 
What would I not give to be able to tell lies. (Aloud.) Well, 
listen, then ! My master .... is a nobleman. He comes 
— we come together — from Holland. He was obliged, on 
account of some vexations — a trifle — a murder — to run 
for it. 

Lis. What ! on account of a murder? 

Chris. Yes. But it was an honourable murder — was 
obliged to escape in consequence of a duel — and just now 
he is flying 

Lis. And you, my friend ? 

Chris. I am also flying. The dead one — I mean to 
say, the friends of the dead one — are prosecuting us, and 
on account of this prosecution .... But the rest you can 
easily guess .... What the deuce can one do ? Consider 
for yourself : a saucy young monkey — called us names ! 
My master knocked him down. How could it be other- 
wise ? If anyone calls me names, I do the same, or — 
I give him a good box on the ear. An honest fellow 
must not put up with such things. 

Lis. Bravo! I like people of that sort; for I am a 
little hasty myself. But see, there's your master coming. 
Would anyone believe, from his countenance, that he was 
so fierce and cruel ? 

Chris. Come, come ; let us get out of his way. He 
might perhaps see that I have betrayed him. 

Lis. Just as you please. 

Chris. But the silver snuff-box 

Lis. Come on. (Aside.) I must first see what I shall 
get from my master for the secret I have discovered ; if 
that is worth something, he may have the box. 

Scene XV. — The Traveller. 

Trav. I miss my box. It is a trifle, yet the loss of it 
would grieve me. Could the bailiff, perhaps .... But no, 



208 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XVI. 



T have lost it ; I may have pulled it out of my pocket 
unawares. We ought not to injure anyone even by sus- 
picion. Nevertheless — he pressed close up to me — he 
snatched at my watch .... I caught him at it ... . Might 
he not have snatched at the box without my having 
caught him ? 



Scene XVI. — Martin Krumm, the Traveller. 

Krumm (perceiving the stranger, is about to retire). 
Holloa ! 

Trav. Well, well, my friend, approach. (Aside.) He 
is as shy as if he knew my thoughts! Well? come 
nearer ! 

Krumm (defiantly). I have no time. I know well you 
wish to chat with me. I have more important business to 
attend to. I don't wish to hear your heroic deeds for the 
tenth time. Eelate them to somebody else, who has not 
heard them yet. 

Trav. What do I hear! Just now the bailiff was 
simple and polite, now he is insolent and rude. Which is 
your true mask ? 

Krumm. Ah ! who the deuce taught you to call my 
face a mask? I don't want to quarrel with you . . . . 
otherwise (Is going away.) 

Trav. (aside). His insolent behaviour increases my 
suspicion. (Aloud.) No, no, wait a moment. I have 
something important to ask you. 

Krumm. And I shall have nothing to reply, however 
important it may be. Therefore, spare yourself the trouble 
of asking. 

Trav. I'll venture it. But I should be very sorry if I 
did him a w r rong. My friend, have you not seen my 
snuff-box ? I miss it. 

Krumm. What a question ! Is it my fault that some 
one has stolen it ? What do you take me for — the receiver 
or the thief? 

Trav. Who spoke of theft ? You are betraying your- 
self. 

Krumm. I betray myself? Then you think I have 



Scene XVI.] 



THE JEWS. 



209 



got it? But do you know, sir, what it is to accuse an 
honest fellow of such things ? Do you know that ? 

Trav. Why shout so loud? I have not yet ac- 
cused you of anything. You are your own accuser. 
Besides, I don't know whether I should be greatly in the 
wrong. Who was it whom I caught snatching at my 
watch ? 

Krumm. Oh ! you are a man who can't understand a 
joke. Listen. (Aside.) Suppose he has seen it in 
Lisette's possession ? But the girl has surely not been so 
foolish as to boast of it. 

Trav. Oh, I understand your way of joking so well, 
that I almost believe you would like to joke with my box 
also. But if one carries a joke too far, it at last becomes 
earnest. I should be sorry for j r our reputation. Suppose 
] was convinced you had had no evil intentions, would 
other people too 

Krumm. Oh ! other people .... other people would 
have long ago been weary of being charged with things 
of this sort. But if you think I have got it, search me, 
examine me. 

Trav. That is not my business. Besides, one does not 
carry everything in one's pocket. 

Krumm. Very well ; but that you may see I am an 
honest fellow, I'll turn out my pockets myself. Look ! 
(Aside.) The devil must have a hand in the game if 
it should tumble out. 

Trav. Oh, don't trouble yourself. 

Krumm. No, no ! you shall see, you shall see. (He turns one 
of his pockets inside out.) Is there a box there ? Crumbs 
of bread are in it ; that precious food. (He turns out another.) 
There is nothing here either. But stop, a bit of a calendar ; 
I keep it on account of the verses written above the months. 
They are very amusing. Well, to proceed. Attend now. 
I'll turn out the third. (In turning it out, two large beards 
fall out.) The devil! what is that? (He stoops hastily 
to pick them up, but the traveller is quicker, and snatches one 
of them.) 

Trav. What is the meaning of these things ? 
Krumm (aside). Cursed fate ! I thought I had put 
them away long ago. 

VOL. II. p 



210 



LESSING'S DKAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XVIII. 



Trav. Why, this is a beard. (He puts it to his face.) 
Do I look like a Jew now ? 

Krumm. Give it back to me. Give it back. Who 
knows what you may be fancying ? I sometimes frighten 
my little boy with it. That is what it is for. 

Trav. You will be kind enough to leave it me. I will 
also frighten some one with it. 

Krumm. Don't let us quarrel; I must have it back. 
(Tries to snatch it from his hand.) 

Trav. Go, or 

Krumm (aside). The devil ! 'Tis time now to look out 
where the carpenter has left a hole. ( Aloud.) All right, sir, 
all right. I see you came here to bring me ill-luck. But 
may all the devils take me if I am not an honest man ! I 
should like to see the man who can say anything bad of 
me ! Bear that in mind. Whatever may come of it, I 
can swear I have not used that beard for any evil purpose ! 
(Exit.) 

Sc; ne XVII. — The Traveller. 

Trav. This man himself raises suspicions in me which 
are very prejudicial to himself. Might he not be one of the 
disguised robbers ? But I will follow out my supposition 
cautiously. 

Scene XVIII. — The Baron, the Traveller. 

Trav. Would you not think I had been fighting 
yesterday with the Jewish robbers and 1 had torn out one 
of their beards ? (He shows him the beard.) 

Baron. What do you mean, sir? — But why did you 
leave me so hastily ? 

Trav. Pardon my want of politeness. I intended to 
be with you again immediately. I only went to look for 
my snuff-box, which I must have lost somewhere here. 

Baron. I am really sorry for that. Should you, after 
all, have suffered a loss in my house 

Trav. The loss would not be so very great. But pray 
just look at this curious beard. 

Baron. You showed it to me before. Why ? 

Trav. I will explain myself more intelligibly. I 
believe .... But no, I will keep my supposition to myself. 



Scene XIX.] 



THE JEWS. 



211 



Baron. Your supposition ? Explain yourself ! 
Trav. No, I have been too hasty. I might be mis- 
taken. 

Baron. You make me uneasy. 

Trav. What do you think of your bailiff? 

Baron. No, no, we won't turn the conversation. I con- 
jure you, by the benefit you have rendered me, to explain 
to me what you think, what you suppose, and in what 
you might be mistaken ? 

Trav. A reply to my question alone can induce me to 
acquaint you with the whole matter. 

Baron. What do I think of my bailiff? Well, I consider 
him a thoroughly honest and upright man. 

Trav. Then forget that I had anything to tell you. 

Baron. A beard — suppositions — the bailiff .... How 
shall I connect these things? Are my entreaties of no 
avail? You might be mistaken. Suppose you are mis- 
taken, what risk do you run with a friend ? 

Trav. You press me too hard. I tell you then, that 
your bailiff incautiously dropped this beard ; that he had 
another, which he hastily put back again in his pocket ; 
that his language betrays a man who thinks that people 
believe as much evil of him as he is capable of doing ; 
that I also have caught him in an attempt not very con- 
scientious, or at least not very prudent. 

Baron. It seems as if my eyes were suddenly opened 
I am afraid you will not be mistaken. And you hesitated 
to inform me of it ? I shall go at once, and try all means 
in my power to discover the truth. Am I to harbour 
murderers in my own house ? 

Trav. But do not be angry with me, if you should 
happily find my supposition to be false. You forced it 
from me, otherwise I should have kept it secret. 

Baron. True or false, I shall always be grateful to you 

Scene XIX.— The Traveller. Afterwards Christoph. 

Trav. I hope he will not proceed too hastily with him ; 
for however well-founded the suspicion is, the man 
may nevertheless be innocent. I am very uneasy .... 
Indeed, it is no trifle to cause a master to suspect his 

p 2 



212 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XIX. 



servants. Even if he finds them to be innocent, yet he 
loses his confidence in them for ever. Certainly, when I 
consider the matter more fully, I feel I ought to have been 
silent. And when they hear that I have ascribed my loss 
to him, will they not conclude that selfishness and revenge 
are the causes of my suspicion ? I would willingly give 
a good deal to postpone the investigation. 

Chris, (approaches laughing*). Ha ! ha ! ha ! Do you 
know, sir, who you are ? 

Trav. Do you know that you are a fool ? What do 
you want ? 

Chris. Well, if you don't know it, I will tell you. You 
are a nobleman ; you come from Holland, where you got 
into a scrape and fought a duel ; you were so fortunate as to 
kill a young monkey of a fellow ; the friends of the dead 
man have pursued you hotly ; you have taken to flight ; 
I have the honour of accompanying you on your flight. 

Trav. Are you dreaming, or are you mad ? 

Chris. Neither the one nor the other ; since for a 
madman my discourse would be too reasonable, and for a 
dreamer too mad. 

Trav. Who has imposed upon you with such non- 
sense ? 

Chris. Oh, you may rest assured that no one imposes 
upon me. But don't you think it is cleverly invented 
in the short time they left me for lying? I'm sure I 
could not have hit upon anything better. So now at 
least you are secured against further curiosity. 

Trav. But what am I to make of all this ? 

Chris. No more than you please ! Leave the remainder 
to me. Just listen how it happened. I was asked for 
your name, rank, fatherland, occupations ; I did not let 
them ask twice. I told all I knew ; that is, that I knew 
nothing at all. You can easily understand that this news 
was hardly sufficient, and that they had little cause to be 
contented with it. So they pressed me, but in vain ; I 
kept silent, because I had nothing to keep silent about. 
But at last the offer of a present induced me to tell more 
than I knew ; that is, I told a lie. 

Trav. You scoundrel ! I see what excellent hands 1 
am in. 



Scene XX.] 



THE JEWS. 



213 



Chris. What! I hope I have not accidentally lied the 
truth ? 

Trav. You impudent liar ! you have placed me in an 
embarrassment out of which 

Chris. Out of which you can extricate yourself as soon 
as you like to make further use of the nice epithet you 
just now were pleased to bestow on me. 

Trav. But I shall then be obliged to disclose myself? 

Chris. So much the better ; then I too shall learn who 
you are. But judge for yourself whether, with a good 
conscience, I could have been conscientious in regard to 
this lie ? (He pulls out the snuff-box.) Look at this box ! 
Could I have earned it more easily ? 

Trav. Let me look at it. (He takes it into his hand.) 
What do I see? 

Chris. Ha ! ha ! ha ! I thought you would be aston- 
ished. Why, I am sure, if you could earn such a box, 
you would not mind telling a lie or two yourself. 

Trav. So you have robbed me of it ? 

Chris. How? What? 

Trav. Your faithlessness vexes me less than the over- 
hasty suspicion which I have cast upon an honest, man on 
account of this box. And you can still be so insanely 
impudent as to want to persuade me that it was a present, 
obtained, however, hardly less disgracefully. Go ! And 
never come into my presence again. 

Chris. Are you dreaming, or are .... But out of 
respect for you I will not say it. Surety envy cannot 
have led you to such extravagances? Do you mean to 
say this box is yours, and I have robbed you of it, salva 
venia f If it were so, I should be a stupid devil to boast 
of it in your very presence. Well, there is Lisette coming. 
Quick, come here ! Help me to bring my master back to 
his senses. 



Scene XX. — Lisette, the Traveller, Christoph. 

Lis. Oh, sir, what troubles you are making among us ! 
What harm has our bailiff done to you ? You have mado 
Irar master furious with him. They are talking of beards, 



214 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scent: XXI' 



and snuff-boxes, and robberies ; the bailiff is crying and 
swearing that he is innocent, and that you say what is not 
true. Our master is not to be softened ; and, indeed, he 
has now sent for the magistrate and the police to put the 
bailiff in irons. What is the meaning of it ail ? 

Chris. Oh, all that is nothing at all ! Only listen, listen 
what he intends to do with me. 

Trav. Yes, indeed, my dear Lisette. I have been too 
hasty. The bailiff is innocent. It is my wicked servant 
alone who has brought me into this trouble. It is he 
who has stolen my box, on account of which I suspected 
the bailiff, and the beard may certainly have been for the 
children, as he said. I will go and give him satisfaction ; 
I will confess my mistake. I will do whatever he may 
request. 

Chris. No, no, stop ; you must first give me satisfaction. 
In the devil's name, Lisette, why don't y< >u speak ? Tell 
him how it is. I wish that you and your box were both 
at the dickens ! Am I to be called a thief for it ? Did 
you not give it to me ? 

Lis. Yes, indeed, and I don't want it back again. 

Trav. What ? It is true, then ? But the box is mine. 

Lis. Yours ? I did not know that. 

Trav. And you found it ? And my negligence is to 
blame for all this disturbance. (To Christoph.) I have 
wronged you also ; — pardon me ! I am ashamed of my 
hastiness. - • - • 

Lis. (aside). The deuce ! Now I begin to see. I don't 
think he has been over-hasty, either. 

Trav. Come, we will 

Scene XXI. — The Baron, the Traveller, Lisette, 
Christoph. 

Baron (in a great hurry). Lisette, restore the box to the 
gentleman immediately ! All is discovered ; he has con- 
fessed all. And you were not ashamed to accept presents 
from such a rascal ? — Well, where is the box ? 

Trav. Then it is true, after all ? 

Lis. The gentleman got it back a long time ago. I 
thought I might take presents at the hands of those from 



Scene XXIL] 



THE JEWS. 



215 



whom you accepted services. I knew as little of him as 
you. 

Chris, And so my present lias gone to the deuce again. 
Lightly come, lightly go. 

Baron. But how can I show my gratitude to you, m}' 
dearest friend ? You have saved me a second time from 
an equally great danger. I owe my life to you. Without 
you 1 should never have discovered this misfortune that 
threatened me. My agent, whom I considered the most 
honest man on my whole property, was the bailiff s accom- 
plice. How then could I ever have imagined it ? Had 
you departed to-day 

Trav. True enough .... then the assistance which 
I thought to have rendered you yesterday would have 
been very incomplete. I therefore consider myself happy 
that Heaven has chosen me to make this unlooked^or 
discovery. I now rejoice as much as I feared before that 
I might be mistaken. 

Baron. I admire your philanthropy as much as your 
magnanimity. Oh may that be true which Lisette has 
told me ! 

Scene XXII. — The Young Lady, the Baron, the Traveller, 
Lisette, Christoph. 

Lis. And why should it not be true ? 

Baron. Come, my daughter, come. Unite your entreaties 
with mine : request my preserver to accept your hand, and 
with your hand my fortune. What more costly gift could 
my gratitude present him with, than you, whom I love as 
much as him ? Do not wonder that I can make you such 
an offer ! Your servant has disclosed to us who you are. 
Grant me the inestimable pleasure of showing my grati- 
tude. My fortune is equal to my rank, and this is equal to 
yours. Here you are safe from your enemies, and come 
among friends who will adore you. — But you seem de- 
pressed. How am I to interpret this ? 

Lady. Can you be distressed on my account ? I assure 
you I shall obey my papa with pleasure. 

Trav. Your magnanimity astonishes me. From the 
greatness of the reward which you offer me, I now per- 



216 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XXIL 



ceive how small was my deed. But what shall I reply to 

you ? My servant has told an untruth, and I 

Baron. Would to Heaven you were not what he says ! 
Would to Heaven your rank were lower than mine ! Then 
the value of my requital would be increased a little, and 
you would, perhaps, feel less inclined to refuse my en- 
treaty. 

Trav. (aside). Why do I not disclose myself? (Aloud.) 
Sir, your nobility of mind touches my soul. Ascribe it 
to fate and not to me, that your offer is in vain. I 
am 

Baron. Perhaps married already? 
Trav. No. 

Baron. Well ? What then ? 
Trav. I am a Jew. 
Baron. A Jew? Cruel fate ! 
Chris. A Jew ? 
Lis. A Jew ? 

Lady. Oh ! what does that matter ? 

Lis. Hush, Miss, hush ! I will tell you afterwards 
what it matters. 

Baron. And so there are cases where Heaven itself 
prevents our being grateful. 

Trav. Your wish to be so renders it superfluous. 

Baron. I will at least do all that fate permits me to do. 
Accept my whole fortune. I would rather be poor and 
grateful than rich and thankless. 

Trav. This offer, too, 1 must decline, for the God of 
my fathers has given me more than I want. For requital 
I ask but one thing, that you will henceforth judge of my 
nation in a kinder and less sweeping way. I did not 
conceal my race from you because I am ashamed of my 
religion. No ! But I saw that you felt friendship for 
me, and enmity against my nation. And the friendship 
of a man, whoever he may be, has always been esteemed 
by me. 

Baron. I am ashamed of my conduct. 

Chris. I am only just coming to myself again, after 
my surprise. What, you are a Jew, and have been bold 
enough to take an honest Christian into your service ? 
You ought to have served me. That would have been 



Scene XXIII.] 



THE JEWS. 



217 



right, according to the Bible. By my faith ! You have 
insulted all Christendom in my person. Now I know the 
reason why the gentleman would eat no pork during our 
journey, and did a hundred other follies. Don't fancy I 
shall go with you any further. I shall bring an action 
against you, too. 

Trav. I cannot expect of you that you should think 
more kindly than other Christian people. I will not re- 
mind you from what miserable circumstances I took you 
at Hamburg : nor will I force you to remain any longer 
with me. But as I am pretty well satisfied with your 
services, and have just now suspected you unjustly, you 
may keep the object that caused my suspicion as a recom- 
pense. (He gives him the box.) Your wages you shall also 
have, and now you may go wherever you please. 

Chris. Deuce take it ! there are Jews too, I suppose, 
who are no Jews. You are a good fellow. Done ! I stay 
with you. A Christian would have given me a kick in 
the ribs, and not a snuif-box. 

Baron. I am charmed with all I have seen of you. Come, 
let us take steps to have the guilty ones put in safe 
custody. Oh, how estimable would the Jews be, were 
they all like you ! 

Trav. And how amiable the Christians, if they all 
possessed your qualities ! 

(Exeunt the Baron, the Young Lady, and the Traveller.) 
Scene XXIII. 

LlSETTE, CHRISTOPH. 

Lis. And so, my friend, you told me a lie. 

Chris. Yes; and for two reasons. Firstly, because 
I did not know the truth ; and secondly, because one can- 
not tell many truths for a box which one is obliged to give 
back again. 

Lis. And perhaps, if one only knew it, you are a Jew 
yourself, too, however you may disguise it. 

Chris. You are too inquisitive for a young lady. Come 
along with me. 

(Exeunt arm-in-arm.) 



THE FREETHINKEE. 

(A COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS.) 



The ' Freethinker ' was written at Berlin in the year 1749. 



DKAMATIS PERS0N2E. 



Adrast, the Freethinker. 
Theophan, a young Clergyman. 
LlSIDOE. 

Araspe, cousin of Theophan. 

Johann and 
Martin, 

A Banker. 

Juliane and 
Henriette, 

Frau Philane, mother of Lisidor, 

Lisette, maid-servant. 



j» servants. 



\ daughters of Lisidor. 



The scene is at Lisidor's house. 



THE FREETHINKER, 



ACT L 

Scene I. — Adrast, Theophan. 

Theoph. Will you be offended, Adrast, if at last I find 
fault with the haughty reserve which you still continue to 
show towards me ? We have already been many months 
in the same house, awaiting the same good fortune. Two 
amiable sisters are about to make us happy. Consider 
then, Adrast, can there exist a greater inducement for us 
to love one another and to form such a friendship as there 
should be between brothers? How often have I not 
maintained 

Adr. Just as often have you perceived that I do not 
wish to enter into such a friendship. Friendship, indeed ! 
Friendship between us ! Do you know, I would ask, what 
friendship is ? 

Theoph. Do I know ? 

Adr. A question always surprises, when it is put 
unexpectedly. Granted that you do know — but my 
way of thinking and your own, I suppose, you also 
know? 

Theoph. I understand you ; so we are to be enemies, 
I suppose ? 

Adr. You seem to have understood me nicely ! Enemies ! 
Is there no medium, then ? Must one always either love 
or hate ? We will remain indifferent to each other ; and 
I know that is what you in reality wish yourself. Leam 
frankness at least from me. 



222 LESSIXG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act I. 

Thfoph. That I am ready to do. But will you teach 
me this virtue in all its purity ? 

Adr. Ask yourself, in the first place, if in all its purity' 
it would be agreeable to you ? 

Theoi j h. Certainly. And to prove to you that your 
future scholar has some capacity for it, will you let me 
make the trial ? 

Adr. Most willingly. 

Thkoph. Take care that my attempt does not prove a 
masterpiece. Hear, then, Adrast .... But permit me to 
begin by a little flattery of myself. Hitherto I have always 
set some value on my friendship ; I have been cautious, I 
have been sparing of it. You are the first person to whom 
I have offered it ; and you are the only one upon whom I 
shall urge it. In vain does your look of contempt tell me 
that I shall not succeed. Yes, I shall succeed. Your own 
heart is my surety : your own heart, Adrast, which is in- 
finitely better than your judgment, perhaps wishes it to 
be, enamoured, as it is, of certain high-sounding opinions. 

Adr. I detest flattery, Theophan ; and especially that 
flattery which is paid to my heart at the expense of my 
understanding. I really do not know what weaknesses (for 
weaknesses they must be) can have made you so well 
satisfied with my heart : but this I know, that I will not 
rest till I have utterly expelled them by the help of my 
understanding. 

Theoph. Scarcely have I begun the proof of my sin- 
cerity, when your sensibility takes fire. I shall not get far. 

Adr. As far as you please. Proceed, I pray. 

Theoph. Indeed ! Your heart, then, is as good as can 
be found. It is too good to be subservient to your under- 
standing, which some new and extraordinary doctrines have 
blinded, which an appearance of solidity has hurried on 
to palpable errors, and which, from an eager desire to be 
conspicuous, is forcibly making of you that which only 
enemies of virtue and unprincipled men should be. Call 
such what you will' — freethinkers, sceptics, deists ; or, if 
you would misapply honourable appellations, call them 
philosophers — monsters they are, and a disgrace to 
humanity. And you, Adrast, whom nature intended to 
be an ornament of our race, who have but to follow your 



Scene I.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



223 



natural feelings to become so ; you, with such a ground- 
work of all that is noble and great, you wilfully belie 
"your character. You deliberately throw yourself down 
from your exalted position, to gain a reputation amongst 
the canaille of minds, than which I would rather choose a 
world-wide ignominy. 

Adr. You forget yourself, Theophan ; and if I do not 
interrupt you, you will eventually begin to imagine that 
you are in that place from which your fraternity are 
allowed to babble by the hour undisturbed. 

Theoph. No, Adrast, you are interrupting no impor- 
tunate preacher ; think but a little, you interrupt only a 
friend — contrary to your wish, I so call in) self — who was 
to give you a specimen of his frankness. 

Adr. And who has given me a specimen of his flattery ; 
! — but of a concealed flattery, a flattery which assumes a 
certain asperity in order the less to appear like flattery. 
You will at last make me despise you also. If you knew 
what frankness was, you would have told me openly what 
in y T our heart you think of me. Your lips would not have 
attributed good qualities to me which your inward con- 
viction does not acknowledge. You would have directly 
reproached me with being an impious profligate, who seeks 
to withdraw himself from religion only that he may in- 
dulge his inclinations in greater security. To express 
oneself more forcibly, you would have called me a brand 
of hell ! an incarnate fiend ! You would have spared no 
curse ; in short, y T ou would have conducted yourself as a 
clergyman must, against a despiser of his superstition, 
and consequently' of his reputation. 

Theoph. I am astounded. What conceptions ! 

Adr. Conceptions which I have selected from a 
thousand examples. But we are going too far. I know 
what I know, and have long learnt to distinguish the 
mask from the face. Carnivals show us that the more 
beautiful the former is, the more hideous is the latter. 

Theoph. You mean thereby to say 

Adr. I mean to say nothing thereby, except that I 
have not as y r et sufficient reason to limit on y r our account 
the general opinion which I hold of the members of your 
profession. I have sought in vain for exceptions too long 



224 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act L 



to expect to find the first in you. I should have to have 
known you longer, and have seen you under various cir- 
cumstances, before 

Thkoph. Before you would do my face the justice of 
not taking it for a mask. Very well ! But how can 
you arrive at that sooner, than by allowing me a more 
intimate acquaintance with you? Make me your friend ; 
put me to the proof. 

Adr. Gently ! The proof would come too late, if I had 
already made you my friend. In my opinion, the proof 
should come first. 

Theoph. There are different degrees of friendship, 
Adrast, and I do not yet ask for the closest. 

Adr. Of the most distant even you are not capable. 

Theoph. Incapable ? Where is the impossibility ? 

Adr. You know, Theophan, a book, I suppose, which 
is said to be the book of all books, which is said to con- 
tain all our duties, and which is said to give us the surest 
prescriptions for all virtues, but which at the same time 
makes no mention of friendship ? Do you know the book, 
I say? 

Theoph. I see your drift, Adrast. From what igno- 
ramus have you borrowed that poor objection ? 

Adr. Whether I have borrowed it, or discovered it my- 
self, is much the same. It must be a small mind which 
is ashamed of borrowing truths. 

Theoph. Truths, indeed ! Are the rest of your truths 
of equal value ? Can you listen to me for one moment ? 

Adr. More preaching ? 

Theoph. Do not you force me to it ? Or do you wish 
that I shall leave your shallow scoffs unanswered, so that 
it may appear as if one was unable to answer them? 

Adr. And what can you answer, then ? 

Theoph. This : tell me, is love included in friendship, 
or friendship in love ? Doubtless the latter. He, there- 
fore, who has enjoined love in its very widest compass, 
has he not enjoined friendship also ? I should think so ; 
and so little is it the truth that our Lawgiver has not 
considered friendship worthy of his command, but on the 
contrary his injunction extends to friendship for the whole 
world. 



Scene I.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



225 



Adr. You charge him with absurdities. Friendship 
for the whole world ! What is that ? My friend must 
not be the friend of the whole world. 

Theoph. Nothing, then, in your opinion, is friendship, 
I suppose, but that accordance of dispositions, that innate 
harmony of minds, that secret drawing together, that in- 
visible chain which unites two souls of similar opinions 
and tastes. 

Adr. Yes, that alone I call friendship. 

Theoph. That alone ? Then you contradict yourself. 

Adr. Oh, how you people find contradictions every- 
where, except just where they really are ! 

Theoph. Just consider ; if this certainly not arbitrary 
agreement of minds, this innate accordance with one 
single other being alone constitutes true friendship, how 
can you require that it should be the object of a law ? 
Where it exists it need not be enjoined ; and where it 
does not exist it would be enjoined in vain. And how 
can you lay to the charge of our Teacher, that he has 
passed over friendship in this sense ? He has enjoined a 
more exalted friendship, which can dispense with that 
blind inclination, which even the unreasoning animals are 
not without, a friendship communicated agreeably to laws 
of acknowledged perfection, a friendship which is not 
governed by, but which governs, nature itself. 

Adr. Oh, what talk ! 

Theoph. This I must tell you, Adrast, though you 
might know it as well as I do, and also ought to know it. 
What would you yourself think of me, if I did not en- 
deavour by every means to avert the suspicion that 
religion could make me despise friendship, the religion 
which you would be only too ready to find some sound 
reason for despising? Do not look at me so contemptu- 
ously, do not turn from me so insultingly. 

Adr. (aside). Wretched parson ! 

Theoph. I see you require time to suppress the first 
feeling of ill-will which the refutation of a favourite 
opinion naturally creates. I will leave you. I have just 
heard too that one of my relations had arrived. I will 
go and meet him, and shall have the honour of introducing 
him to you. 

VOL. II. q 



226 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act 1 



Scene II. — Adrast. 

Adr. Would that I need never see hirn again! Is 
there one of you black-coated gentry who is not a hypo- 
crite? I have to thank the clergy for my misfortunes. 
They have oppressed me and persecuted me; however 
nearly we may have been allied by blood. I will hate you, 
Theophan, and all your order. Am I here also to become 
related to the priesthood ? This sneaking fellow, this dull 
renouncer of his understanding, to become my brother-in- 
law ! And my brother-in-law through Juliane ! — through 
Juliane ! What cruel destiny pursues me everywhere ? 
An old friend of my deceased father offers me the hand of 
one of his daughters. I hasten to him, but arrive too 
late ; and I find her, who at first sight took captive my 
whole heart, and with whom alone I could live happily, 
already promised ! Ah, Juliane ! You were not destined 
for me ! You whom I love ! And am I to content 
myself with a sister whom I do not love ? 

Scene III. — Lisidor, Adrast. 

Lis. That is it ! Alone again, Adrast ? Tell me, pray, 
must philosophers creep thus into corners ? I would 
rather not be one — and, if I heard correctly, you were 
actually talking to yourself. Well, well, perhaps so ; you 
whimsical fellows certainly could not talk with anybody 
cleverer than yourselves. But still such as we are no 
fools either. I will join in, be the subject what it may. 

Adr. I beg your pardon 

Lis. How pardon ? Why, you have not done anything 
to hurt me yet. I like to see people merry ; and as sure 
as I am an honest man, the idea of having for my son-in- 
law the merry scapegrace, as they used to call you 
formerly at home, gave me true pleasure. Certainly since 
that time you are grown-up ; you have travelled ; seen 
distant countries and peojiles. But that you would 
return such an altered gentleman was what I never 
would have dreamt. You argue now about what is, and 
what is not ; about what might be, and if it might be why 



Scene III.] THE FREETHINKER. 



227 



then it might not be ; about necessity, partial necessity, and 
complete necessity ; about necessary necessity, and neces- 
sity which is not necessary ; about at — at — what do you 
call those little things that fly about in the rays of the 
sun ? — about at— at — What are they, Adrast ? 

Adr. Atoms I suppose you mean. 

Lis. Yes, yes, atoms, atoms. So called because one 
gets at 'em by the thousand when one draws a breath. 

Adr. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Lis. You laugh, Adrast ! Yes, my young friend, you 
must not imagine that I understand nothing at all about 
the matter. I have heard you and Theophan quarrelling 
often enough over it. I retain the pith of it. While you are 
knocking your heads together, I am fishing in the dark. 
Many a crumb falls which neither of you know how, to 
use ; and those are for me. You must not be envious of 
me for this, for I take from you both impartially. I take 
one idea from you, my good Adrast, and one from Theophan, 
and then from them all I afterwards make a complete 

Adr. Which must be something monstrous. 

Lis. Why so ? 

Adr. Because you mingle day and night if you unite 
my ideas with those of Theophan. 

Lis. Very well ! And an agreeable twilight springs 
therefrom. Besides, it is not at all true that you differ 
so much from each other. Fancies ! fancies ! On the con- 
trary, how often have I not considered you both in the 
right at the same moment ? Indeed, I am thoroughly 
convinced that all honourable people believe alike. 

Adr. Should do so, should do so, that is true. 

Lis. There, see now ! what difference is there in that ? 
Believe, or should believe ; it comes to the same thing. 
Who can measure every word with compasses? And I 
wager a trifle, when you are once brothers-in-law, no egg 
will be more like another 

Adr. Than I to Theophan, and he to me ? 

Lis. Certainly : you do not yet know what it is to be 
relations. For relationship's sake, one will yield an inch, 
and the other will yield an inch ; one inch and one inch, 
that makes two inches ; two inches make .... well, I'll 
be hanged if you are that distance apart. And then 

Q 2 



228 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act L 



nothing in the world, I think, could give me so much 
pleasure as the thought, that my daughters suit each of 
you so exactly. Julianewas born for a clergyman's wife; 
and as for Henriette, there is not to be found in the whole 
land, Adrast, a girl that would suit you better. Pretty, 
lively, but firm in character ; she sings, dances, and plays ; 
in short, she is a daughter after my own heart. Juliane, 
on the other hand, is pious simplicity itself. 

Adr. Juliane? Do not say that. Her perfections, 
perhaps, strike the eye less. Her beauty does not dazzle ; 
but it touches the heart. One is willingly led captive by 
her silent charms, and submits deliberately to her yoke, 
which others must throw on one in a fit of gay thought- 
lessness. She speaks little ; but then there is sense in 
each word she utters. 

Lis. And Henriette ? 

Adr. Henriette can certainly express herself wittily 
and with freedom. But could not Juliane do the same, 
if only she wished, and if she did not prefer truth and 
feeling to that ostentatious parade ? All virtues seem to 
have united in her soul 

Lis. And Henriette ? 

Adr. Far be it from me to deny to Henriette the pos- 
session of any virtue. But there is a certain manner 
which would hardly allow one to attribute them to her 
if one had not better grounds for doing so. Juliane's 
sedate sweetness, her natural modesty, her quiet joyous- 
ness, her 

Lis. And Henriette's 

Adr. Henriette's pleasant freedom, her becoming con- 
fidence, her gay transport, contrast admirably with the 
solid qualities of her sister. But by the comparison Julia 
gains 

Lis. And Henriette ? 

Adr. Loses nothing by it. Only that Juliane 

Lis. Ho ! ho ! Herr Adrast, I trust you are not suffer- 
ing from an attack of that folly which makes people con- 
sider nothing good or charming but what they cannot 
possess. Who the deuce has been bribing you to praise 
Juliane ? 

Adr. Think nothing unpleasant. I only ^>shed to 



Scene IV.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



229 



Bhow that love for my Henriette does not make me blind 
to the superior charms of her sister. 

Lis. Well, well, if that is so, let it pass. She is cer- 
tainly a good child also, is Juliane. She is her grand- 
mother's darling. And the good old lady has said a 
hundred times that the pleasure she takes in her little 
Julie keeps her alive. 

Adr. Ah ! 

Lis. Why, how you sigh ! What troubles you now ? 
Nonsense ! A young man in robust health, just about to 
marry, and sigh? Spare your sighing till you have got 
your wife. 

Scene IV. — Johann, Adrast, Lisidor. 

Joh. Hist ! hist ! 

Lis. Well? well? 

J oh. Hist ! hist ! 

Adr. What is the matter ? 

Joh. Hist ! hist! 

Lis. Hist ! hist ! Johann ! Cannot the blockhead come 
nearer ? 

J oh. Hist ! Herr Adrast ! a word in your ear. 
Adr. Come here, then ! 
Joh. In your ear, Herr Adrast. 
Lis. (going near him). Well, what do you want ? 
Joh. (passing over to the other side). Hist ! Herr 
Adrast, only one word, quite privately ! 
Adr. Come here, then, and speak. 

Lis. Speak ! speak ! What can concern the son-in-law, 
that the father-in-law ought not to hear ? 

Joh. Herr Adrast — (pulling him aside by the sleeve.} 

Lis. You rascal, will you send me forcibly from the 
spot. Speak, do ! I am going. 

Joh. Oh ! you are really too polite. Only just be kind 
enough to walk into the corner for one minute, and you 
can remain in the room. 

Adr. Stay, I beg. 

Lis. Well ! if you wish — (approaching them). 
Adr. Now speak ; what do you want ? 
Joh. (seeing Lisidor near him). Nothing. 
Adr. Nothing ? 



230 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act £ 



Joh. Nothing whatever. 

Lis. That word in private ; have you already forgotten 
it again? 

Joh. Dickens ! are you here ? I thought you were 
safe in the corner, there. 

Lis. Fool ! the corner has come nearer. 

Joh. In that it has done very wrong. 

Adr. Detain me no longer, but speak. 

Joh. Herr Lisidor, my master is getting angry ? 

Adr. I have no secrets for him ; speak ! 

Joh. Then I have no secrets for you, either. 

Lis. Scoundrel ! — so I must let you have your way. I 
am going into my study, Adrast, if you wish to come 

Adr. I shall follow you directly. 

Scene V. — Johann, Adrast. 
Joh. Has he gone ? 

Adr. Well, what have you to say to^ me? I wager it 
is some trifle, and the old man will imagine it is a matter 
of life and death. 

Joh. A trifle ? In one word, Herr Adrast, we are lost : 
and you could wish me to say it in the presence of 
Lisidor ? 

Adr. Lost ! How so ? Explain yourself. 

Joh. What is there to explain ? In a word, we are lost. 
But certainly I should never have imagined that you had 
so little prudence that you even wished to let your future 
father-in-law hear 

Adr. Let me hear it, at any rate. 

Joh. Truly, he might have lost the desire of ever be- 
coming your father. A nice trick ! 

Adr. Come ! what is the trick then ? How long will 
you continue to torture me ? 

Joh. A cursed trick. Yes, yes ! if the servant was 
not often more cautious than the master, pretty things 
might come to pass. 

Adr. Worthless scamp 

Joh. Oh ! oh ! are these my thanks ? If I had but said 
it when the old gentleman was present. We should have 
seen, we should have seen 



Scene V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



231 



Adr. May the devil 

Joh. Ha ! ha ! Don't mention him. You talk of the 
devil, but I know there is none. I must have learnt little 
from you if I couldn't do that (snapping his fingers) at all 
the inhabitants of hell ! 

Adr. I believe you are playing the Freethinker. It is 
enough to disgust an honourable man with it when he sees 
how every low fellow tries to assume the character. But 
I forbid you to say another word to me of this secret. I 
know it is nothing. 

Joh. What, not tell you ? Let you run on to your own 
destruction ? We will see about that. 

Adr. Get out of my sight ! 

Joh. Patience ! patience ! You remember, I suppose, 
pretty well how you left your affairs at home ? 

Adr. I do not want to hear anything. 

Joh. Well, I am not telling you anything yet. Still 
you surely remember the bills you gave Herr Araspe, 
twelve months ago ? 

Adr. Silence! I do not want to hear anything about 
them. 

Joh. Without doubt, because you wish to forget them ? 
If they only got paid by that means ! But are you aware 
that they have been dishonoured ' ; 

Adr. I am aware that it is no business of yours. 

Joh. I can brook that also. You think, perhaps, " out 
of sight out of mind ;" and that Herr Araspe has no need 
to be in a hurry. But what would you think if Herr 
Araspe 

Adr. Well, what? 

Joh. Was this moment seen getting off the coach. 

Adr. W hat do you say ? I am astonished. 

Joh. So was I, when 1 saw him. 

Adr. You have seen Araspe? Araspe here? 

Joh. Sir, I have taught myself to recognise youi 
creditors and my own at the first glance. Yes, I sinel] 
them when they are still a hundred paces off. 

Adr. (after thinking). I am lost ! 

Joh. That is just what I said at first. 

Adr. What is to be done ? 

Joh. The best thing will be, to pack up and be off. 



232 



LESSING'S DEAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act L 



Adr. That is impossible. 

Joh. Then make up your mind to pay. 

Adr. I cannot do that ; the sum is too large. 

Joh. Ah ! that is what 1 said again. You are think- 
ing? i ... 1 

Adr. Still, who knows if he is come hither expressly 
on my account. He may have other business. 

Joh. Still, he will settle your business at the same time. 
We shall be talked about at any rate. 

Adr. You are right. I could go mad when I think of 
all the freaks which an unjust fate unceasingly plays me. 
Yet against what do I rail ? Against a deaf chance, 
against a blind fate, which, without design and without 
purpose, overwhelms us ! Ah ! worthless life ! 

Joh. Oh ! you need not abuse life ; to wish to quarrel 
with it for such a trifle would be clever indeed. 

Adr. Well, advise me then if you look upon it as such 
a trifle. 

Joh. Does no plan really occur to you? I shall soon 
cease to consider you that great genius for which I have 
always taken you. Eun you won't ; pay you can't : what 
then remains ? 

Adr. To allow myself to be sued. 

Joh. Nonsense. What I should first think of, even if 
I could pay 

Adr. What is that, then ? 

Joh. Swear the bills are not of your drawing. 

Adr. (with bitter contempt). Scoundrel ! 

Joh. How ? What am I ? Such fraternal advice 

Adr. Yes, truly. Fraternal advice, which you should 
only give to your own brethren, to scamps like yourself. 

Joh. Is this Adrast ? I never heard you turn an oath 
into ridicule, I suppose ? 

Adr. An oath, as an oath, but not as a mere assevera- 
tion of one's word. To a man of honour, his word must 
ever be sacred, even though there be neither heaven nor 
hell. To me, to have denied my signature, would be an 
eternal shame ; and 1 could never write my name again 
without feeling contempt for myself. 

J oh. Superstition on superstition ! You have driven it 
out at one door, and you let it in again at the other. 



Act II.J 



THE FREETHINKER. 



233 



Adr. Silence ! I don't care to hear your tiresome 
prating. I will go to Araspe. I will remonstrate with 
him ; I will tell him of my marriage ; and I will promise 
him interest on interest. I suppose I shall still find him 
where the coach stops. 

Joh. Perhaps .... There he goes, a soft-hearted boaster. 
His words are big enough ; but when it comes to prove 
by actions, what he believes, then the old woman trembles. 
Happy the man who can live up to his convictions. He 
does get something from them. I should like to be in his 
place. However, I must just see what he is after. 



ACT II. 

Scene I. — Juix ane, Henriette, Lisette. 

Lis. First of all, my dear young ladies, before I smooth 
your little difference, let us settle to which of you I belong 
to-day. You know your authority over me is to be by 
turns. For since it is said to be impossible to serve two 
masters, therefore your estimable papa — make me a cour- 
tesy for that, young ladies — your estimable papa, I say, 
has considerately wished to spare me the possibility of 
doing what is impossible. He has made each of you 
my commandress-in-chief on alternate days ; so that on 
Monday I am to be the modest maid of the gentle Juliane, 
and on Tuesday the sprightly Henri ette's unruly Lisette. 
But now, since the strange gentlemen have been in the 
house 

Hen. Our admirers you mean 

Lis. Yes, yes ; your admirers now, soon to be your 
ruling lords. Since, I say, these gentlemen have been in 
the house, everything is at sixes and sevens ; I am tossed 
from one to the other of you ; and, alas ! our charming 
regularity lies together with your work-boxes, which you 
have not looked at from the same day, under the dressing- 
table. Out with it again. I must know whereabouts I 
am, if I am to pronounce an impartial judgment. 



234 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



Hen. "We will soon settle that. You remember, don't 
you, the last saint's-day when my sister dragged you with 
her to afternoon service, much as you would have liked to 
drive out with me to the farm. ^You were very strict then, 
Juliane ! 

Jul. Well, at all events, I did not cause a worthy 
person to take an idle journey. 
HEiV. Lisette 

Lis. Hush, Miss ! No tales out of school, or 

Hen. Don't threaten, girl ! You know I have a good 
conscience. 

Lis. And so have I. But don't let us chatter so much. 
Well, I remember the saint's-day. It was the last orderly 
day ; for on that very evening Theophan arrived. 

Hen. Therefore, with my sister's permission, you are 
mine to-day. 

Jul. Without doubt. 

Lis. Huzza! Missy. So to-day I am yours. Huzza! 

Jul. Is that your watch- word under her flag ? 

Lis. Without more ado then, tell me your difference. 
.... In the meantime I will put on the face of a 
judge. 

J ul. Difference ? a weighty difference ? You are both 
joking. I won't hear anything more of it. 

Hen. Oh, oh ! You will not acknowledge an umpire ? 
A clear proof that you are in the wrong. Now listen, 
Lisette ! we have been quarrelling about our admirers. 
I will still call them so, whatever the finish of it 
may be. 

Lis. As I thought. About what else could two sisters 
quarrel ? It is certainly vexatious to hear one's future 
lord disparaged. 

Hen. Stuff! You are quite on the wrong tack. 
Neither has disparaged the admirer of the other ; but 
our quarrel arose because one extolled the admirer of the 
other too much. 

Lis. A new kind of quarrel, truly, a new kind. 

Hen. Can you deny it, Juliane ? 

Jul. Oh, spare me more of this ! 

Hen. Hope for no mercy unless you retract. Say 
Lisette, have you ever compared our young lovers ? What 



Scene I.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



235 



do you think ! Juliane cries down her poor Thcophan as 
if he was a young monster. 

Jul. Unkind sister ! When did I do that ? Must you 
draw such conclusions from a casual remark, which you 
ought not even to have mentioned. 

Hen. I see, one must make you angry "before you will 
speak out. You call it a casual remark, do you ? Why 
did you contend for its reasonableness then ? 

Jul. What foolish expressions you use ! Did you not 
begin the whole business yourself ? I thought I should 
please you, if I said that your Adrast had the finest figure 
1 had ever seen. You ought to have thanked me for my 
opinion, and not have contradicted it. 

Hen. See how strange you are ! What else was my 
contradiction, but thanks ? For how could I express my 
thanks more emphatically, than by applying the unde- 
served praise to your Theophan. 

Lis. She is right. 

Jul. No, she is not. For that very thing vexed me. 
Should she treat me in such a childish manner? Did 
not I feel like a little girl at play, who had said to her, 
" Your doll is the prettiest ;" and to whom she there- 
fore answered, to prevent crying, "No, yours is the 
prettiest." 

Lis. Now she is right. 

Hen. Oh ! go along ! You are a fine judge. Have you 
forgotten already that you belong to me to-day ? 

Lis. So much the more strict shall I be towards you 
for fear of being partial. 

Jul. Believe me only that I know how to value other 
qualities in a man than his figure. And it is enough, 
that I find these superior qualities in Theophan. His 
mind 

Hen. That is not the question at all. At present we 
are concerned with the figure, and Theophan's is finer, 
say what you will. Adrast is taller : well ; he has a 
neater foot, I do not deny it. But when we come to the 
face 

Jul. I did not deal with the subject so in detail. 
Hen. That is just your fault. What pride, what con- 
tempt for everybody else shows itself in each feature of 



236 



LESSING'S DEAMATIC WORKS. [Act IL 



Adrast's countenance. You will call it noble ; but does 
that make it beautiful ? It is in vain that his features 
are so regular ; his caprice, his love of scoffing has added 
certain lines to them, which make him truly ugly in my 
eves. But I will smooth them out for him as soon as the 
honeymoon is over ! Your Theophan, on the contrary, has 
the most amiable countenance in the world. A sweetness 
reigns in it which never belies itself. 

Jul. You need not tell me what I have remarked just 
as well as yourself. But still this very sweetness is not 
so much the natural property of his face, as the result of 
his inward peace of mind. The beauty of the mind adds 
charms even to an ill-favoured body ; just as the deformity 
of it creates a something even in the most perfect face 
and beautiful figure, which causes an inexplicable disgust. 
If Adrast was the same pious man that Theophan is, if his 
soul was enlightened by the same heavenly rays of truth, 
which he forcibly strives to misunderstand, he who is now 
scarcely a man among men would then be an angel among 
men. Do not be angry, Henriette, that I speak so slight- 
ingly of him. If he falls into good hands he may still 
become all that which he now is not, because he has 
never endeavoured to be so. His conceptions of honour 
and natural justice are admirable. 

Hen. (mockingly). Oh, you cry him down much too 
seriously. But may not I now say that you treat me like 
the child at play ? I am not anxious for you to make me 
satisfied with him. He is as he is, and good enough 
for me. You spoke of good hands into which he must 
fall, if anything is to be made of him. Since, how- 
ever, he has fallen into mine, I suppose he will not alter 
much. To accommodate myself to him will be my only 
artifice to make our life supportable. His discontented 
looks, however, must be laid aside; and I shall propose to 
him the countenance of your Theophan as a pattern. 

Jul. Theophan and his amiable looks again already. 

Lis. Hist ! Miss 



Scene II.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



237 



Scene II. — Theophan, Juliane, Hknriette, Lisette. 

Hen. (springing forward to meet Theophan). Come 
Theophan, pray come. Can you believe that I have had 
to take your part against my sister ? Admire my disin- 
terestedness. I praised you up to the skies, although I know 
that you are not to be my husband, but are destined for 
my sister, who does not know your value. Imagine ! 
She maintains that your figure is not to be compared 
with Adrast's. I don't know how she can say such a 
thing. Of course I look at Adrast with the eyes of a lover, 
that is, I fancy him ten times handsomer than he really 
is, and yet, in my opinion, you are in no respect inferior 
to him. She says, indeed, that you have the advantage 
in respect of genius ; but what do we young girls know 
about genius? 

.Tul. The tell-tale ! But you know her, Theophan ; do 
not believe her. 

Theoph. !Not believe her, fairest Juliane? Why will 
you not have me remain in the happy conviction that she 
has spoken of me so favourably? I thank you, kind 
Henriette, for your defence of me ; I thank you so much 
the more from being myself thoroughly convinced that 
you have had to defend a bad cause. Still 

Hen. Oh, Theophan, I do not ask you to justify me. 
There is a certain person 

Jul. Do that certain person justice. Theophan ; you 
know my sentiments, I trust 

Theoph. Do not treat me as a stranger, dearest Juliane. 
Use no arguments in my favour ; I should only lose by 
every comparison. Over books, in a confined and dusty 
study, one easily forgets the body, and you know the 
body must be trained just as much as the soul, if both are 
to acquire those perfections of which they are capable. 
Adrast has been brought up in the world of fashion ; he 
possesses everything which gains favour there. 

Hex. Even the faults 

Theoph. I did not mean to say that, at any rate 

But have patience ! A great mind cannot be for ever the 
slave of such faults. Adrast, in time, will see the little- 



238 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act II. 



ness of them, which is always betrayed by the void they 
leave in the heart. So certain am I of his reformation, 
that I already love him for it in anticipation. How happy 
you will be with him, yon fortunate Henriette ! 

Hen. Adrast never speaks so generously of you, 
Theophan. 

Jul. That again is a very unkind remark, my dear 
sister. What object have you in saying that to Theophan ? 
It is always better not to know who speaks ill of us. A 
knowledge of our calumniators causes, even in the most 
generous hearts, a sort of coolness towards them, which 
only renders a reconciliation the more difficult. 

Theoph. I am delighted to hear you say that, Juliane. 
But fear nothing. Just in this shall sooner or later be 
my triumph — that I have forced Adrast to have a better 
opinion of me, contemptuously as he now thinks of me. But 
should I not destroy this triumph entirely, if I should 
myself entertain any resentment against him ? He has 
not yet taken the trouble to know me intimately. Perhaps 
I may find means of enabling him to do so. Let us now 
quit the subject ; and allow me to announce to you the 
arrival of one of my nearest relations, who has been 
pleased to take me here by surprise. 

Jul. A relation ? 

Hen. And who is he ? 

Theoph. Araspe. 

Jul. Araspe ? 

Hen. Ah ! that is delightful ! Where is he ? 
Theoph. He has just got off the coach and promised to 
follow me here without delay. 
Hen. Does papa know ? 
Theoph. I believe not. 
Jul. And grandmamma ? 

Hen. Come, sister, we must be the first to take them 
this good news. You are not angry with me, are you ? 

Jul. Angry with you, you flatterer! Come, let us 
go. 

Theoph. Let me wait for him here. 

Hen. But bring him soon. Do you hear ! 



Scene III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



239 



Scene III. — Theophan, Lisette. 

Lis. I remain, Herr Theophan, to pay you a little 
great compliment. You really are the luckiest man in 
the world. And I believe if Herr Lisidor had two more 
daughters, they would all four be in love with you. 

Theoph. What do you mean, Lisette ? 

Lis. I mean that if all four would be, then the present 
two must be. 

Theoph. (smiling). Still more in the dark. 

Lis. Your smile does not say that. If, however, you 
really do not know your own merits, you are so much the 
more deserving of love. Juliane loves you, and that is all 
right, because she ought to love you. It is only a pity that 
her love has such a very discreet appearance. But what 
shall I say of Henriette ? She certainly loves you too ; and 
the worst of it is, she loves you — out of love. If only you 
could marry them both. 

Theoph. You mean it well, Lisette. 

Lis. Yes, certainly ! Then you should also keep me 
into the bargain. 

Theoph. Better still. But, I see, Lisette has sense. 

Lis. Sense ? To that compliment I unfortunately do not 
know how to reply. To another one, " Lisette is pretty," 
I think I have learned how to answer. " Oh ! sir, you are 
joking." I do not know whether this answer will do here 
too. 

Theoph. But to my purpose. Lisette can render me a 
great service if she will tell me her real opinion about 
Juliane. I am sure she will not be far from the mark even 
in her conjectures. There are certain things which the 
eye of a woman sees quicker than those of a hundred 
men. 

Lis. Good gracious ! You can't have got that knowledge 
from books. But if you had paid attention to what I 
said, I have already told you my real opinion of Juliane. 
Did not I tell you, that to my mind her love has rather 
too discreet an appearance ? That is all I think about it. 

Consideration, duty, superior beauties of the mind To 

tell you the truth, a lover may always be distrustful of 
such excellent words in the mouth of a woman. And there 



240 



LESSIXG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



is another little observation I would make at the same 
time, that she made use of these excellent words far more 
sparingly when Herr Theophan was the only gentleman 
in the house. 

Theoph. Indeed ! 

Lis. [after looking at Mm for a minute). Herr Theophati 
Herr Theophan ! You said that word indeed in a tone .... 
in a tone 

Theoph. In what sort of tone? 

Lis. Yes, now it is different again. These men, these 
men, even the most pious. — Still I will not be misled! 
Since Herr Adrast has been in the house, I was going to 
say, looks now and then pass between him and Juliane. 

Theoph. Looks ? you alarm me, Lisette. 

Lis. And you can express your alarm so calmly, so 
calmly. — Yes, I say, looks pass between them ; looks 
which are as like as two pins to the looks which now and 
then pass between Fraulein Henriette and the fourth 
person of the party. 

Theoph. What fourth ? 

Lis. Do not get angry. Though I call you the fourth, 
you really are to all intents and purposes the first. 

Theoph. (aside). Cunning girl ! I am ashamed of my 
curiosity, and I have got my deserts. (Aloud.) You are 
wrong, however, Lisette, prodigiously wrong ! 

Lis. Fie ! You just paid me such a pretty compliment, 
and now you suddenly repent of having done so, 1 couldn't 
have any of that sense which you attributed to me if I 
could be so prodigiously wrong. 

Theoph. (uneasy and absent). Where, then, can he be ? 

Lis. Where can what be ? My sense ? Anywhere. But 
this much is certain, that Herr Adrast is not in Hen- 
riette's best books, although she appears to conform so 
well to his opinions. She can bear everything but being 
lightly valued ; and that she cannot bear. She knows only 
too well what Adrast considers us women ; creatures who 
are here for no other purpose than to please the men. And 
that is a very mean way of thinking. But there, one can 
see into what impious errors your unbelievers fall. Well ? 
Aren't you listening to me, Herr Theophan ? Why so 
absent ? Why so uneasy ? 



Scene V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



241 



Theoffi. I cannot think what detains my cousin. 
Lis. Oh ! he will come. 

Theoph. I must really just go to meet him. Farewell, 
Lisette. 

Scene IV. — Lisette. 

Lis. That is what I call an abrupt break-off. I hope 
he is not vexed that I just sounded him a little. An 
excellent young fellow ! I shall like to see what will 
come of it. I really wish him well ; and, if it depended 
upon me, I know what I would do. (Looking round her.) 
Who is coming along the passage there ? Oh ! it is you, 
is it? A pretty pair of gabies, Adrast's Johann and 
Theophan's Martin ; true likenesses of their masters, from 
the ugly side. One is a freethinking rogue, the other a 
pious blockhead. I must do myself the pleasure of listen- 
ing to them a bit (steps back). 



Scene V. — Lisette (half hidden behind the scene), Johann, 
Martin. 

Joh. As I tell you. 

Mar. You must take me for a great stupid. Your 
master an atheist ? The deuce may believe that. Why he 
looks just like you and me. He has got hands and feet and 
a mouth across and a nose down his face, like a man ; and 
he talks like a man and eats like a man — and he is an 
atheist ? 

Joh. Well ? Are not atheists men, then ? 

Mar. Men ? Ha ! ha ! ha ! Now I see that you don't 
know yourself what an atheist is. 

Joh. The deuce ! You know better, I suppose. Pray 
teach your ignorant neighbour. 

Map. Listen then! An atheist is a child of hell, who 
can assume a thousand shapes, like the Devil. Now he is a 
cunning fox, now a savage bear; now he takes the shape of 
an ass, now that of a philosopher ; now he becomes a dog, 
now a coarse poet. In short, he is a monster, that is 
already burning alive with Satan in hell ; a pest on earth ; 
a detestable creature ; a beast, which is more senseless 

YOL. II. R 



242 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WOltKS. 



[Act IL 



than a beast ; a devourer of souls ; an antichrist ; a fright- 
ful prodigy 

Joh. It has cloven feet, has it ? two horns ? a tail ? 

Mar. Very likely. It is a changeling lustfully be- 
gotten of hell with the wisdom of this world ; it is — yes, 
that is an atheist. Our parson described him just so, he 
knows all about him from great books. 

Joh. Simple dolt ! Just look at me. 

Mar. Well ! 

Joh. What do you see in me ? 

Mar. Nothing but what I can see ten times better in 
myself. 

Joh. Do you find anything frightful, anything dreadful, 
in me ? Am I not a man like yourself ? Did you ever 
see me like a fox, or a donkey, or a cannibal ? 

Mar. Leave out the donkey, if I must answer you as 
you wish. But why do you ask ? 

Joh. Because I am an atheist myself; that is, a strong- 
minded man, as every honest fellow must be to be in the 
fashion. You say, an atheist burns alive in hell. Now, 
just smell ; do you smell any burning in me ? 

Mar. Just for that reason you are not one. 

Joh. I am not one ? Do not disgrace me by doubting 
it — or .... But really pity prevents my getting angry. 
You are indeed to be pitied, poor knave ! 

Mar. Poor! Just let us see who had the biggest 
number of tips last week (putting his hand into his 
pocket). You are a careless devil, you spend everything 
in drink 

Joh. Let your money alone! I speak of quite a dif- 
ferent poverty, the poverty of the mind, which must be 
fed with mere miserable crumbs of superstition, and clothed 
with wretched rags of stupidity. But so it is with you 
people who never go further than four miles at the most, 
from your own kitchen fire. If you had travelled as I 
have 

Mar. You have travelled, have you? Let us hear; 
where have you been ? 

Joh. I have been in France. 

Mar. In France ? with your master? 
Joh. Yes, my master was with me. 



Scene V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



243 



Mar. Js that the country where the French live ? I 
once saw one ; that was a droll frog ; he could turn round 
on his heel seven times in a wink, and whistle into the 
bargain. 

J oh. Oh! Yes, there are great geniuses among them. 
It was there that I first became clever myself. 
Mar. Did you learn Francish ? 
Joh. French, you mean. Perfectly. 
Mar. Indeed ! do speak. 

Joh. I'll soon do that. Quelle heure est-il, maraut? 
Le pere est la mere, une fille, des coups de baton. Comment, 
coquin ? Diantre, diable, carogne a vous servir. 

Mar. That sounds funny! And the folks there can 
understand that stuff? Now just say, what is that, in 
German ? 

Joh. In German, indeed. You poor simpleton, that 
cannot be expressed so in German. Such fine thoughts can 
only be expressed in French. 

Mar. Zounds ! Well, where have you been besides ? 

Joh. Besides? Why in England 

Mar. In England ! Can you speak Englandish, too ? 

Joh. What can't I speak ? 

Mar. Do speak then. 

Joh. You must know it is just the same as French. 
It is French — understand me, spoken in English. What 
will you gain by hearing it? I will tell you very dif- 
ferent things, if you will listen to me : things which can- 
not have their like. For example, to return to our former 
subject — don't be a fool, and think that an atheist is such 
an awful thing. An atheist is nothing more than a man 
who does not believe in a God. 

Mar. Does not believe in a God ! Why that is much 
more wicked still! No God! What does he believe, 
then? 

J ou. Nothing. 

Mar. That must be a great deal of trouble. 

Joh. What! trouble! If it was a trouble to believe 
nothing, why my master and I would certainly believe 
everything. We are sworn enemies of everything that 
gives trouble. Man is in the world to live merry and 
jolly. Pleasure, laughter, courting, drinking, are his 

R 2 



244 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act II. 



duties. Trouble hinders these duties, and therefore it is 
also necessarily his duty to avoid trouble. There, that is 
a conclusion which contains more logic than the whole 
Bible. 

Mar. No doubt. But, tell rne, what is there in the 
world without labour? 

Jon. All that one inherits or marries. My master in- 
herited from his father and from two rich cousins no small 
hums ; and I must bear him witness that he has got through 
all like a brave fellow. Now he is going to get a rich young 
lady, and if he is wise, he will begin again where he left off. 
For some time he has not been exactly to my mind ; and 
I see that even Freethinking does not always remain wise 
when it goes courting. However, I shall soon bring him 
into gear again. And hear, Martin ; I will make your 
fortune, too. I have an idea ; but I do not think that 
I can well impart it, except — over a glass. You were 
chinking your money just now ; and certainly you run a 
risk of not getting any more, if it is seen that you do not 
use it for the purpose for which it was given you. To the 
tavern, good Martin, to the tavern ; that is what tips 
are for. 

Mar. Gently, Johann, gently ! You already owe me 
one. Did I not treat you the other evening ? But let us 
hear what the good fortune is which I may expect from 
you. 

Joh. Well, then, when my master marries, he must 
take another servant. A jug of ale, and you shall have 
the preference with me. You only grow sour with your 
stupid parson. With Adrast you shall have better wages, 
and more liberty ; and into the bargain, I will make a 
shrewd fellow of you, able to cope with the Devil and his 
grand-dam, if there be such a thing. 

Mar. What ? If there be such a thing ! Ho ! Ho ! Is 
not it enough that you don't believe in a God? Will you 
not believe in a Devil either ? Talk of the Devil, and he 
is sure to appear ! He won't be so long-suffering as God is. 
God is too good, and laughs at such a poor fool as thou 
art. But the Devil .... his anger is soon raised, and 
then there is a pretty fuss ; no, no, I shall not stay with 
you. I shall go 



Scene V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



245 



Joh. (holding him back). Oh ! you cheat ! you cheat ! 
Do you think I don't see your trick? You are more afraid 
of the jug of ale which you are to stand, than of the Devil. 
Stop! I cannot possibly allow yon to remain in such 
superstition. Only think a little. The Devil! The 
Devil ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! And it does not seem laughable 
to you ? Laugh, do ! 

Mar. If there was no Devil, where would those go to 
who scoff at him ? Just answer me that ! Untie that 
knot for me ! You see, I know too how to show up you 
fellows ! 

Joh. Another error ! How can you be so sceptical about 
my words ? They are the utterings of wisdom — the oracles 
of reason. It is proved, I tell you, in books it is proved, 
that there is neither Devil nor hell. Do you know 
Balthasar ? He was a celebrated baker in Holland. 

Mar. What are the bakers in Holland to me? Who 
knows whether he could make such good rolls as the man 
at the corner here. 

Joh. Ah! that was a clever baker! His ' Enchanted 
World !'.... Ha ! that is a book ! My master read it 
once. In short, I recommend you that book, as it was re- 
commended to me, and will now assure you, in confidence, 
that he must be an ox, a beast, an old woman, who can 
believe in a Devil. Shall I take an oath that there is not 
one ? May I be 

Mar. Pooh ! an oath won't be much to you. 

Joh. Well, hear ; may I be ... . may I be ... . struck 
blind on the spot, if there is a Devil. 

(Lisette springs quickly forward, and puts her hands over his 
eyes from behind, making a sign at the same time to 
Martin.) 

Mar. That certainly would be some proof; but then 
you know very well that it won't happen. 
Joh. (in terror). Oh, Martin! Oh! 
Mar. W hat is the matter ? 

Joh. Martin, what has happened to me? What has 
happened, Martin ? 

Mar. Well ! what is the matter ? 

Joh. Do I see? or Ah ! Oh God ! . . . . 

Martin ! Martin ! how dark it has suddenly grown ! 



246 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act II. 



Mar. Dark ! What do you mean by dark ? 

Joh. Oh, dear ! Is not it dark ? Help ! Martin, help ! 

Mar. Help, what about ? What do you want ? 

Joh. Oh ! I am blind ! I am blind ! It is on my 
eyes, on my eyes .... Lord ! I tremble all over 

Mar. You are blind ? You don't mean that ? Stay, 
let me hit you over the eyes, to strike fire out of them, 
and you will soon see. 

Joh. Ah ! I am punished, I am punished. And you 
can still laugh at mei Help! Martin, help! {falling on 
his knees). Indeed I will reform ! What a wicked wretch 
I have been ! 

Lis. (lets Mm go suddenly and springs forward, giving Mm 
a box on the ear). You scamp ! 
Mar. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Joh. Oh ! I breathe again {getting ujp). Lisette, you 
vixen. 

Lis. Are you lions so easily turned into hares ? Ha ! 
ha! ha! 

Mar. I shall laugh myself into a fit. Ha! ha! ha ! 

Joh. Laugh away ! laugh away ! You are mighty 
stupid, if you think I did not see it. (Aside.) The 
confounded girl, what a fright she put me in ! I must 
recover myself. (Exit slowly.) 

Mar. Are you going? Oh ! laugh at him ! Yes, laugh 
on, Lizzie, laugh on. Ha! ha! ha! You did that capi- 
tally ; beautiful ! beautiful ! I could kiss you for it. 

Lis. Go along, silly Martin ! 

Mar. Come, do ; I will take you to the alehouse. Come, 
I will treat you to the jug which that rascal wanted to 
cheat me out of. Come. 

Lis. Wouldn't you like it ! I will go and tell my 
young mistresses the joke. 

Mar. Yes, and I my master. He got it ! he got it thia 
time. 



Act III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



247 



ACT III. 

Scene I. — Theophan. Araspe. 

Ar. As I told you, my dear cousin, the pleasure of 
surprising you, and the desire of being present at your 
wedding, are certainly the principal causes of my journey, 
but they are not the only ones. Having at last found out 
that Adrast was sojourning here, I was glad in this way, 
as the saying is, to kill two birds with one stone. Adrast's 
bills have been dishonoured ; and I have not the least desire 
to grant him the smallest consideration. I am indeed 
astonished to find him — a thing I could never have con- 
ceived — in the house of your future father-in-law, and to 
find him here on the same footing as you, Theophan ; ,but, 
notwithstanding, even if fortune could make him more 
closely allied to me 

Theoph. I entreat you, my good cousin, be careful what 
you say. 

Ar. Why ? You know very well, Theophan, I am not 
generally the man to oppress my debtors cruelly. 

Theoph. I do know it ; so much the more there- 
fore 

Ar. No so much the more will apply here. Adrast, this 
man who endeavours to distinguish himself from others 
in a manner equally absurd and impious, deserves that 
some one, in return, should distinguish him from others. 
He must not enjoy the favour which an honourable man 
is willing to allow a neighbour in difficulties. One does 
not even return like for like, in making the present life of a 
scoffing Freethinker somewhat disagreeable to him when he 
would willingly rob us of the noblest privileges we possess, 
and would destroy all hopes of a future more blessed 
life. I know the blow which I give Adrast will be final ; he 
will not be able to re-establish his credit. Yes, I should 
be rejoiced if I could thereby prevent his marriage. If I 
was only concerned about my money, you must see that I 
should rather help to forward this alliance, because he will 
get something in his pocket again through it. But, no — 
and even if, at the meeting of the creditors, which must 
take place, I come off without a sou, nevertheless I am 



248 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act IIL 



determined to bring him to the worst. Yes, when I weigh 
everything I really believe I shall be doing him a kind- 
ness by this severity. Difficulties may perhaps make him 
reflect seriously, a thing he has never thought it worth 
while to do in prosperity ; and perhaps, as very frequently 
happens, his character may alter with his luck. 

Theoph. I have allowed you to finish. I trust you will 
now have the kindness to listen to me also. 

Ar. I will, certainly. But I should never have ex- 
pected to find a defender of Adrast in my pious cousin. 

Theoph. I am less so than appears ; and there are so 
many unpleasant circumstances connected with this busi- 
ness, that henceforward, I think, I shall only attend to 
my own affairs. Adrast, as I am thoroughly convinced, is 
one of those Freethinkers who really deserve to be some- 
thing better. It is also quite conceivable that in youth a 
person may be something of the kind even contrary to in- 
clination. But then he is only so until the understanding 
has attained a certain state of maturity, and the boiling 
blood has cooled down. Adrast is now at this critical junc- 
ture, but still with uncertain step : a gentle wind, a breath, 
may hurl him down again. The misfortune with which 
you threaten him would render him deaf to conviction ; 
he would give himself up to raging despair, and fancy he 
had good reason not to trouble himself about a religion, 
the followers of which had made no scruple of working 
his destruction. 

Ar. There is something in that ; but 

Theoph. No, for a man of your mind, my dear cousin, 
there should be more than something, there should be very 
much in it. You have not yet viewed the matter in this 
light ; you have only considered Adrast as a lost man, for 
whom one must attempt a desperate cure as the last resource. 
On this ground, the warmth with which you speak against 
him is excusable. But let me teach you to judge of him more 
impartially. He is already more rational in his conversation 
than he is described to me as having formerly been. In 
arguing, he no longer scoffs, but takes great pains to ad- 
vance proofs. He begins to reply to the counter-evidence 
which one brings forward, and I have remarked that he 
is ashamed if he cannot reply satisfactorily. Certainly 



Scene I.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



249 



he now and then strives to hide his shame under some 
contemptuous word of abuse; dul have patience! it is a 
good deal that he no longer directs this abuse against the 
sacred things which one is defending, but only against 
their defenders. His contempt for religion is gradually 
changing into a poor opinion of those who teach it. 
Ar. Is that true, Theophan ? 

Theoph. You will soon have an opportunity of con- 
vincing yourself of it. You will perceive, indeed, that his. 
contempt of the clergy is now directed chiefly against me ; 
but I entreat you beforehand, not to be more irritated at 
it than I am myself. I have firmly resolved not to repay 
him in his own coin ; but rather to extort his friendship 
from him, let it cost what it may. 

Ar. If you act so generously under personal in- 
sults 

Theoph. Stop ! We will not call it generosity. It may 
be egoism, or a species of ambition to overcome his prejudice 
against the members of my order. But whatever it may 
be, you are much too good, I know, to oppose me in my 
purpose. Adrast would be sure to consider it a precon- 
certed plot, if he saw that my cousin was so sharp upon 
him. His anger would fall entirely on me, and he 
would proclaim me everywhere as a mean fellow, who with 
a thousand assurances of friendship had plunged a dagger 
in his heart. I should be sorry that he should be able, 
with any appearance of truth, to increase through me the 
number of examples of knavish parsons, as he, calls them. 

Ar. My dear friend, I should be a thousand times 
more grieved at it than you yourself. 

Theoph. Permit me, then, to make a proposition ; or 
no — I should rather say a request. 

Ar. Speak without restraint. I am, you know, at your 
disposal. 

Theoph. Would you be so good, then, as to give me the 
bill, and receive the payment of it from me. 

Ar. Eeceive the payment of it from you ! You are 
within an ace of making me angry ! What do you mean 
by payment ? If I had not already told you that I do not 
care about the money, you might at least have known that 
anything I have is yours. 



250 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III 

Theoph. I recognise my cousin in this. 

Ak. I hardly recognised mine. My nearest relation, 
my sole heir, treats me as a stranger, with whom he may 
make a bargain (taking out his pocket-book). Here is the bill. 
It is yours ; do with it what you please. 

Theoph. But let me observe that I shall not be able to 
act so freely with it, if I have not made it my own property 
in due form. 

Ar. What then is " due form " between us, except that 
I give, and you accept? However, to remove all your 
scruples, let it be so ! You shall sign a bond, that you 
will not again require the sum of this bill from my 
property after my death (smiling). Singular cousin ! do you 
not see that I do nothing more than pay in advance ? 

Theoph. You perplex me 

Ar. (still holding the bill in his hand). Believe me of the 
scrap without further delay. 

Theoph. Accept my thanks for it. 

Ar. What a waste of breath ! (Looking round him.) 
Hide it quickly ; here comes Adrast himself. 



Scene II. — Adrast. Theophan. Araspe. 

Adr. (with surprise). Good heavens ! Araspe here ! 

Theoph. Adrast, let me have the pleasure of introducing 
my cousin to you in the person of Araspe. 

Adr. What ! Is Araspe your cousin ? 

Ar. Oh ! we are already acquainted ! I am delighted, 
Adrast, to meet you here. 

Adr. I have already been all over the town in search 
of you. You know how we stand with each other, and I 
wished to save you the trouble of looking for me. 

Ar. It was not necessary. We will talk over our 
business another time. Theophan has taken it upon him- 
self. 

Adr. Theophan ? Oh ! then it is clear 

Theoph. (calmly). What is clear, Adrast ? 

Adr. Your deceit — your cunning 

Theoph. (to Araspe). We have been here too long 
already. Lisidor will be anxiously awaiting you, my 



Scene IV.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



251 



cousin. Allow me to conduct you to him. (To Adrast :) 
May I request, Adrast, that you will stay here a moment ? 
1 will just accompany Araspe, and be back here imme- 
diately. 

Ar. If I may be allowed to advise you, Adrast, do not 
act unjustly towards my cousin. 

Theoph. He will not do so, I am sure. Come. 
(Exeunt Theophan and Araspe.) 

Scene III. — Adrast. 

Adr. (bitterly'). No, certainly, I shall not do so. Of 
all his cloth that I have as yet known, he is the most 
detestable. In this I will certainly do him justice. He 
has got Araspe here expressly on my account ; that is not 
to be denied. I am glad now that 1 have never given him 
credit for having one drop of honest blood in his veins, 
and have always held his soft speeches for what they 
are. 

Scene IY. — Adrast. Johann. 

Joh. Well ! have you seen Herr Araspe ? 
Adr. (still bitterly). Yes. 
Joh. Is all well? 
Adr. Excellent. 

Joh. Ah ! I should like to have given him a bit of my 
mind too, if he had made any difficulty. — Then I suppose 
he has taken his departure again. 

Adr. Wait a bit. He will soon make us take ours. 

Joh. He — ours? Where is he? 

Adr. With Lisidor. 

Joh. Araspe with Lisidor ? Araspe ? 

Adr. Yes, Theophan's cousin. 

Joh. What have I to do with that fool's cousin? I 
mean Araspe. 

Adr. I mean Araspe too. 
Joh. But 

Adr. But don't you see that I shall soon go raving 
mad ? Why do you keep plaguing me ? You hear, don't 
you, that Theophan and Araspe are cousins ? 

Joh. For the first time in my life. Cousins ! Well, 



252 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



so much the better ; your bill will remain in the family ; 
and your new brother-in-law will persuade his old 
cousin 

A dr. You blockhead ! He will persuade him to have 
no respect for my happiness. Are you so stupid as to 
consider it accidental that Arasr e is here ? Do you not 
see that Theophan must have h arnt how I stand with 
his cousin ? that he has informed him of my circumstances ? 
that he has compelled him, at all hazards, to take this 
long journey, not to miss the opportunity of making my 
ruin public, and thus destroying my last chance, namely, 
Lisidor's favour ? 

Joh. Confound it ! now I see it. You are right. Can 
I be such an ass as not at once to think the worst where 
a parson is concerned ? Oh ! that I could grind the black- 
coats into powder, and scatter them to the winds ! What 
tricks they have played us already! One did us out of 
some thousands; that was the honourable husband of 
your own sister. Another 

Adr. Oh ! do not begin to enumerate my disasters. 
I will soon see the end of them. And then let me see 
what fortune will be able to rob me of when I have 
nothing left. 

Joh. What it will still rob you of, when you have 
nothing more left ? Well, I can tell you : it will then 
take me away from you. 

Adr. I understand you, rogue ! 

Joh. Don't waste your rage on me. Here comes one 
against whom you may direct it better. 

Scene V. — Theophan. Adrast. Johann. 

Theoph. Here I am again, Adrast. You let slip some- 
thing about " deceit " and " cunning " just now. 

Adr. I never let accusations slip. When I make them, 
I do so with design, and after reflexion. 

Theoph. But a clearer explanation 

Adr. You must demand from yourself. 

Joh. (the first sentence aside). Here I must come in. 
Yes, yes, Herr Theophan ! it is well known that my 
master is a thorn in your side. 



SCEXE V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



253 



Theopii. Adrast, have you given your servant orders 
to answer in your place ? 

Joh. What ? do you mean to grudge him my counte- 
nance too ? I shall like to see who will prevent me taking 
my master's part. 

Theoph. Let him see it, Adrast. 

Adr. Hold your tongue ! 

Joh. I should 

Am. (threatening). Another word, and 

Theoph. Well ! Now, I suppose, I may repeat my re- 
quest for a clearer explanation of your words ? I am not 
able to give it myself. 

Adr. Are you willing, then, to give me a clearer 
explanation, Theophan? 

Theoph. With pleasure, when asked. 

Adr. Tell me, then, what did Araspe mean, on that 
occasion of which you know, by the words " Theophan 
has taken it upon himself?" 

Theoph. Araspe should by rights explain that. Still, 
I can do it in his place. He meant to say, that he has 
given your bill to me to see to. 

Adr. At your request ? 

Theoph. That may be. 

Adr. And what do you intend to do with it ? 

Theoph. You have not yet been called upon for it, 
have you ? Can we determine anything before we know 
what you would then do ? 

Adr. A poor shift ! Your cousin knows already what 
I can do. 

Theoph. He knows that you can pay it. And then 
there is an end of it, isn't there ? 
Adr. You are mocking. 
Theoph. I am not, Adrast. 

Adr. But supposing the case— and you may well 
suppose it— that I should not be in a situation to pay ; 
what have you determined to do then ? 

Theoph. In that case nothing is yet determined upon. 

Adr. But what might be determined upon ? 

Theoph. That rests with Araspe. Still I should think 
that a single appeal, or a mere civil request, with such a 
man as Araspe, might effect much. 



254 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act HI. 



Joh. That depends how his whisperers advise. 

Adr. Must I tell you once more to be silent ? 

Theoph. I shall be really glad if by rny interference 
in the business I can render you any service. 

Adr. And do you expect nie to ask this favour of you 
in a humble tone, with fawning adulation, and mean 
flattery ? No, I will not augment your triumph over me. 
Having promised me on your word of honour to do every- 
thing in your power, you would return to me after a few 
moments in a sorrowful plight, and lament that all the 
trouble you had taken had been useless. How your eyes 
would feast on the sight of my distress ! 

Theoph. You will not, then, give me the opportunity 
of proving the reverse to you ? It will cost you but one 
word. 

Adr. No, I will not waste one word even. For hear 
— and this is my clearer explanation of the matter — 
Araspe would never have come here, but on your instiga- 
tion. And now that you have dug your mine so dexter- 
ously to destroy me, is it likely that you would be induced 
by one single word not to spring it V Pray execute your 
honourable work. 

Theoph. Your suspicions do not astonish me. Your 
temper has shown me the same before. But it is a posi- 
tive fact that I had as little knowledge that Araspe was 
your creditor, as you had of his being my cousin. 

Adr. That remains to be proved. 

Theoph. To your satisfaction, I trust. — Look a little 
more cheerful, and let us join the others. 

Adr. I dp not wish to see them again. 

Theoph. A strange determination. Your friend, and 
her you love 

Adr. It will cost me little to part from her. But do 
not be afraid that this will happen until you have been 
satisfied. I do not wish that you should lose anything by 
me, and will go directly to make a final attempt 

Theoph. Stop, Adrast. I am sorry that I did not at 
once release you from your anxiety. Learn to appreciate my 
cousin better {taking out the bill), and be assured, however 
meanly you may think of me, that he at any rate is a man 
who deserves your esteem. He is only desirous of seeing 



Scene VI.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



255 



you perfectly happy, and therefore he gives you your bll 
back again (holding it out to him). You are yourself to 
keep it until you can conveniently discharge it. He 
thinks that it is quite as safe in your hands as under his 
own lock. You have the reputation of an honourable 
man, if you have not that of a religious one. 

Adr. (starting, and pushing back Theoph an' 's hand). What 
new trap is this which you threaten me with ? The favour 
of an enemy ! 

Theoph. By this " enemy " you mean me ; but what has 
Araspe done to merit your hatred ? It is he, not I, who 
wishes to show you this slight favour ; if, indeed, such a 
poor act deserves the name. Why do you still hesitate ? 
Here, Adrast, take your bill back again. 

Adr. That I will not do. 

Theoph. Do not let me return with my mission unac- 
complished, to a man who wishes only to act honourably 
towards you. He would throw the blame of his slighted 
offer on me. (Whilst he again holds out the bill, Johann 
snatches it from him.) 

Joh. Ha ! ha ! ha ! in whose hands is the bill now ? 

Theoph. (composedly). In yours, without doubt. Keep 
it for your master. 

Adr. (advancing in a rage towards his servant). Wretch ! 
it is as much as your life is worth 

Theoph. Not so hasty, Adrast. 

Adr. Give it back this instant. (Takes it away from 
him.) Get out of my sight ! 
Joh. Well, really !■ 

Adr. If you stay another minute — (pushes him out.) 

Scene VI. — Theophan. Adrast. 

Adr. I am ashamed, Theophan ; but I do not think 
that you will go quite so far as to confound me with my 
servant. — Take back what he wished to rob you of. 

Theoph. It is in the hands in which it ought to be. 

Adr. No; I feel far too much contempt for you to 
deter you from committing a base action. 

Theoph. This is not bearable. (Takes the bill back.) 



256 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



Apr. I am glad that yeu ftave not compelled me to 
throw it at your feet. If it is to come into my possession 
again, I shall find a more suitable mode of obtaining it. 
But if I can find none, it is all the same. You will be 
glad to cause my ruin, and I shall be glad to be able to 
hate you from the bottom of my heart. 

Theoph. But it is really your bill, Adrast, is not it ? 
[opening it and showing it to him.) 

Adr. You think, perhaps, that I shall disown it. 

Theoph. No ! I. do not think that ; I merely wish to be 
certain. (Tears it coolly in pieces.) 

Adr. What are you doing, Theophan ? 

Theoph. (throwing the pieces aivay). Nothing. Merely 
destroying a trifle, which can, however, mislead a man 
like Adrast into such petty calumny. 

Adr. But it does not belong to you. 

Theoph. Never mind that. What I do I can answer 
for. Have you still suspicions ? (Exit.) 

Scene VII. — Adrast. 

Adr. (loolcing for some time after him). What a man ! 
I have met with many of his profession, who have 
deceived under the mask of sanctity, but never before one 
who did so under the mask of generosity. He is either 
endeavouring to make me ashamed, or to gain me over : 
he shall not succeed in either. By good luck I have just 
bethought me of a banker who lives here, with whom 
I formerly had dealings under more prosperous circum- 
stances. He will imagine that I am still in the same 
position, I hope, and advance me the necessary sum with- 
out hesitation. Not that I intend to make him the goat, 
on whose horns I may spring safely out of the well. I 
have still some land which I may sell advantageously, if 
I can but gain time. I must seek him out. 

Scene VIII. — Henriette. Adrast. 

Hen. Wherever have you been, Adrast ? They have 
"been asking for you twenty times. You ought to be 



Scene VIII.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



257 



ashamed to let me look for you at a time that you should 
be seeking me. You are playing the husband part too 
soon. Never mind ! perhaps you will play the lover when 
others usually cease to do so. 

Adr. Pardon me, but 1 have just a little business of 
consequence to transact out-of-doors. 

« Hen. What can you have to do at present of more 
consequence than to attend upon me ? 
Ann. You are jesting. 

Hen. I am jesting ? — What a pretty compliment ! 
Adr. I never pay compliments. 

Hen. Dear me ! what a surly physiognomy ! Do you 
know, I think we shall quarrel about these morose looks, 
even before the marriage ceremony allows us to do so. 

Adr. Do you know that such a remark from you is .not 
the most pleasing ? 

Hen. Perhaps because you think that frivolous remarks 
suit your lips only ! But I did not know that you had 
the peculiar privilege of making them. 

Adr. You play your part excellently. A young lady 
who is so ready with her answers, is invaluable. 

Hen. That is true ; for we weak creatures at the best 
are endowed with little power of tongue. 

Adr. Would to God ! 

Hen. Your heartfelt " would to God " makes me laugh, 
though I certainly ought to be angry. I am good again 
now, Adrast. 

Adr. You are twice as charming when you want to be 
angry ; for you seldom get further than a grave look, and 
that makes your countenance all the more beautiful, be- 
cause it is seldom seen there ! Perpetual cheerfulness and 
eternal smiling grow insipid. 

Hen. (gravely). Oh ! my good sir, if that is the case 
with you, 1 will make my face sufficiently to your 
taste. 

Adr. I could wish — for as yet I have no right to 
dictate to you 

Hew Your "as yet" saves me. But what could you 
wish ? 

Adr. That you would comport yourself somewhat 
more after the manner of your elder sister. I do not ask 
VOL. II. s 



258 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IV. 



that you should assume her modest manner in its entirety. 
AY ho knows whether it would become you? 

Hen. Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh ; 
let us see if mine does so equally. 

Apr. Go on. 

Hex. It is well that you have arrived at the chapter 
of examples : I also have a little verse from the same on 
which I shall be glad to preach to you. 

Adr. What a curious mode of expressing yourself! 

Hkn. You think so, perhaps, because you do not believe 
in preaching. But you will find that 1 am a lover of it. 
Just listen {imitating Ms tone). I could wish .... for as 
yet I have no right to dictate to you 

Adr. And never will. 

Hen. Very well. — Leave that out then. I could 
wish that you would comport yourself somewhat more 
after the manner of Herr Theophan. I do not ask that 
you should assume his pleasing manner in its entirety, 
because I would not ask anything that is impossible; but 
a small portion of it would render you a great deal more 
bearable. Theophan, who acts on principles much stricter 
than those of a certain Freethinker, is at all times agree- 
able and communicative. His virtue, and another quality, 

at which you will doubtless laugh, his piety Do you 

not laugh ? 

Adr. Do not be alarmed. Continue your talking. In 
the mean time I will go and settle my business, and return 
presently. (Exit.) 

Hen. You need not hurry. Come when you will, you 

will not find me again as heretofore What rudeness ! 

Shall I get angry about it ? I must think about this. {Exit 
on the opposite side.) 



ACT IV. 

Scene I. — Juliane, Henriette, Lisette. 

Hen. Say what you will, his conduct is inexcusable. 
Jul. I cannot give you an opinion on it until I 
have heard his motives too. But, my dear Henriette, 



Scene I.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



259 



you will not take it ill if I give you a little sisterly 
advice ? 

Hen. I cannot promise that till I know what it is. If 

it should refer, as I rather fancy 

Jul. Oh ! if you begin with your fancies 

Hen. I am quite satisfied with the correctness of my 

fancies. I cannot say they have ever led me far wrong 

as yet. 

Jul. What do you mean by that ? 

Hen. Must I always mean something? You know 
very well I can chatter with pleasure the whole day long, 
and am always astonished myself if by chance I hit upon 
the very subject which people are not willing to hear 
discussed. 

Jul. Now just listen, Lisette ! 

Hen. Yes, Lisette, let us hear what the sisterly advice 
is, which she wishes to give me. 
Jul. I give you advice ? 
Hes. I thought you said so. 

Jul. I should do quite wrong in giving you the 

Hen. Oh ! I beg 

Jul. Leave me alone. 

Hex. The advice, dear sister. 

Jul. You do not deserve it. 

Hen. Let me hear it without deserving it. 

Jul. You will make me angry. 

Hen. And I .... I am so already. But do not imagine 
T am angry with you. I am angry with nobody but 
Adrast ; and what makes my anger against him implac- 
able, is this — that my sister acts unjustly towards me 
on his account. 

Jul. Of what sister do you speak ? 

¥\ en. Of what sister ? .... Of the one I used to have. 

Jul. I have never seen you so touchy. You know, 
Lisette, what I said. 

Lis. Yes, I do ; and it was really nothing but a little 
harmless praise of Adrast, with which I had no fault to 
find, except that it might makeFraulein Henriette jealous. 

Jul. Praise of Adrast ? 

Hen. I jealous ? 

B 2 



260 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IV. 



Lis. Not so stormy ! That is what people always get 
who speak the truth ; they please nobody. 

Hen. I jealous? jealous about Adrast? From this 
day I shall pray heaven for nothing more earnestly, than 
to escape from the clutches of that man. 

Jul. I ? Praise Adrast ? Is it praise to say that a man 
cannot be equally good-tempered one day with another ? 
When I say that the austerity, which my sister finds 
fault with in Adrast is not natural to him, and that some 
galling vexation must have created it in him ; when I 
say that a man like Adrast, who perhaps has occupied 
himself too much with gloomy reflexions 

Scene II. — Adrast, Julia, Henriette, Lisette. 

Hen. You come as if called, Adrast. You left me 
just now rudely enough, in the midst of my encomium on 
Theophan ; but that does not prevent my permitting you 
the opportunity of listening to a repetition of your own. 
You look round ? doubtless in search of your panegyrist. 
It is not I ; indeed it is not I ; it is my sister. A bigot 
the panegyrist of a sceptic ! What a contradiction ! 
Either the conversion of Adrast or the perversion of my 
sister is at hand. 

Jul. How frivolous she is again. 

Hen. (to Adrast). Do not stand there stock still. 

Adr. I call you to witness, Juliane, how contemp- 
tuously she treats me. 

Hen. Come, Lisette, we will leave them by themselves. 
Adrast certainly does not require our presence, either to 
pour forth his own thanks, or his charges against me. 

Jul. Lisette may remain here. 

Hen. No, she may not. 

Lis. You know I belong to-day to Fraulein Henriette. 

Hen. But take care, sister, for all this ! If I should 
meet with your Theophan you will see what may take 
place. Do not imagine, Adrast, that I say this to make 
you jealous. In verity I feel that I am beginning to 
dislike you* 

Adr. You would hardly succeed in making me 
jealous. 



Scene III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



201 



Hen. Oh ! it would be capital if you resembled me 
in that respect. Then, indeed, our marriage would be a 
happy one. Kejoice, Adrast ! How scornful we will be 
to one another ! You wish to speak, sister ? Now is the 
time. Come Lisetto. (Exeunt.) 



Scene III. — Adrast, Juliane. 

Jul. Adrast, you must nave patience with her. Indeed 
she deserves it ; for she has the best heart in the world, 
though her tongue would make it seem doubtful. 

Adr. Too indulgent Juliane ! She has the good fortune 
to be your sister ; but to how bad an account does she turn 
this good fortune. I can pardon a girl who has not grown 
up free from all serious faults, if she has been brought up 
without education, or good examples ; but to excuse one 
who has had a Juliane as a pattern, and then has become a 
Henriette — so far my courtesy does not reach. 

Jul. You are provoked, Adrast ! and therefore do not 
judge fairly. 

Adr. I do not know what I am now ; but I know that I 
speak as my feelings prompt. 

Jul. Which are too violent to last long. 

Adr. Then you prophesy unhappiness for me. 

Jul. What! Do you forget how you stand towards 
my sister ? 

Adr. Ah ! Juliane, why must I tell you that I do not 
love your sister ? 

Jul. You startle me. 

Adr. And I have only told you the smallest half of 
what I must tell you. 

Jul. Permit me, to spare myself hearing the rest. 
(Is going.) 

Adr. Where would you go ? I have made known to 
you the change in my feelings, and you will not listen 
to the reasons that have caused it ? You will quit me 
with the suspicion, that I am an inconstant and fickle 
deceiver ? 

Jul. You are wrong. Not I — my father — my sister, 
alone have a right to hear your vindication. 



262 



lessing's dramatic woeks. 



[Act IV. 



Adr. They alone ? . . . . Alas 

Jul. Detain me no longer. 

Adr. I entreat you but for one minute. The greatest 
criminal is heard. 

Jul. By his judge, Adrast ; but I am not your judge. 

Adr. But I implore you to be so now. Your father, 
lovely Juliane, and your sister, will condemn, and not 
judge me. From you alone can I depend upon receiving 
that justice which can pacify me. 

Jul. (aside). I believe he will persuade me to listen 
to him Well, tell me then, Adrast, what has pre- 
judiced you so much against my sister. 

Adr. She has herself been the cause of it. She is not 
woman enough for me to love her as a woman. If her 
features did not mark her sex, one would take her for a 
disguised hair-brained boy, too unskilled to play well the 
part he had assumed. \\ hat a tongue ! and what a spirit 
must that be which keeps that tongue constantly going. 
Do not say that her tongue and her understanding may 
have little or no connection with each other. So much 
the worse. This disagreement, whereby voice and mind 
each takes its own course, makes the offences of such a 
person less culpable, it is true ; but it destroys all the 
good qualities which she otherwise may possess. If her 
cutting derision, her offensive observations, are to be over- 
looked, because, as the saying is, she means no harm, is 
one not entitled, on the same grounds, to consider any 
praiseworthy or obliging words she may utter, as mere 
words by which she perhaps means no good. How are 
you to judge of what is a person's mode of thinking, if 
you are not to do it by their mode of speaking. And if 
the dependence of the speech upon the mind in one in- 
stance is not to be valid, why should it be so in the other ? 
She says openly that she begins to dislike me; and am I 
to imagine that she still loves me ? Then I must also think 
that she dislikes me, should she say that she begins to 
love me. 

Jul. Adrast, you think too much of her trifling raillery, 
and mistake thoughtlessness for falsehood. She may be 
guilty of the former a hundred times a day, and still be 
far from the. letter. You must learn to see from her 



Scene III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



203 



actions, and not from her conversation, that she has at the 
bottom a most amiable and tender disposition. 

Adr. Ah Juliane ! words are the forerunners of deeds, 
in fact their very elements. How can one expect she will 
act considerately and properly, if she is not even accustomed 
to speak considerately and properly ? Her tongue spares 
nothing, not even that which ought to be most sacred 
in the world to her. Duty, virtue, propriety, religion, 
everything is subject to her ridicule. 

Jul. Hold, Adrast ! You should be the last person to 
say that. 

Adr. Why so ? 

Jul. Why so ! Shall I speak openly ? 

Adr. As if you could speak otherwise. 

Jul. What if the whole conduct of my sister, her 
endeavours to appear more volatile than she really is, her 
desire to be satirical, only date from a certain period? 
What if this period is exactly that of your stay here, 
Adrast ? 

Adr. What do you say ? 

Jul. I will not say that you have set her a bad example. 
Still, how far will not the desire to please lead us ? Even 
if you had expressed your opinions less openly — and you 
have often expressed them but too plainly — Henriette 
would yet have divined them. And as soon as she dis- 
covered them, so soon she determined, by the adoption of 
the same sentiments, to gain your affections ; a very 
natural thing for a spirited girl to do. Will you now be 
so cruel as to consider that a fault for which you ought 
rather to thank her as for a compliment ? 

Adr. I can thank no one who is so small-minded as to 
relinquish her natural character on my account ; and that 
woman pays me a bad compliment who looks upon me as 
a fool, who is pleased with no manner but his own, and 
who would wish to behold on every side faint copies and 
imitations of himself. 

Jul. But if this is your view you will make few 
proselytes. 

Adr. What an opinion you have of me, dear Juliane ! 
I make proselytes ! Mad undertaking ! On whom have 
I ever wished to force or intrude my opinions ? I should 



264 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IV. 



be sorry to see them become general. If I have often 
defended them loudly, and with a certain amount of 
warmth, it was done with the motive of vindicating my- 
self, and not of converting others. If my opinions were 
to become too general, I should be the first to quit them, 
and to adopt the opposite. 

Jul. Then you seek only to be singular ? 

Adr. No, I do not admire singularity, but truth ; and 
I cannot help it if, unfortunately, the former is a conse- 
quence of the latter. I can never believe that truth can 
be common, any more than I could believe daylight to 
exist throughout the world at the same moment. That 
which passes current amongst all nations under the form 
of truth, and is accepted as such by the most weak-minded, 
is assuredly no truth ; and it only requires courage to lay 
hands on it, and divest it of its covering, and one sees the 
most frightful errors naked before one. 

J ul. W hat wretched creatures are men, and how unjust 
is their Creator, if you are right, Adrast, in what you say ! 
Either there must be no such thing as truth, or else it 
must be of such a nature, that it may be perceived by the 
majority, indeed by all, at least in matters of conse- 
quence. 

Adr. It is not the fault of truth that it cannot be per- 
ceived, but of men. We are to live happily in the world ; 
for that purpose we are created; and for that purpose 
alone. As often as truth is opposed to this great end, one 
is obliged to set it aside ; for few minds can find their 
happiness in truth itself. Let us therefore leave their 
errors to the multitude, and leave them for this reason — 
that they are the groundwork of their happiness, and the 
support of the State in which they find their security, 
wealth and happiness. To deprive the multitude of 
religion would be like turning loose a horse from a rich 
pasture — as soon as it feels its freedom it prefers to roam 
in unproductive forests and to suffer want, rather than 
gain what it requires by an easy service even. But not 
for the people alone, for another part also of the human 
species must religion be maintained. For the fairest part, 
I mean, to whom it is a kind of adornment, as it is a 
bridle to the people. Religiou becomes feminine modesty 



Scene IV.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



2G5 



very well ; it gives to beauty a certain noble, solid, and 
devout appearance. 

Jul. iStop, Adrast, you do my sex as little honour as 
you do religion. The former you class with the populace, 
cunning as was your turn of words ; and the second you 
consider at best as a kind of rouge, to be kept on a lady's 
dressing-table. No, Adrast, religion is an adornment for 
all men, and must be their most real adornment. Alas ! 
you mistake it, through pride — but through a false pride. 
What can fill the soul with more sublime conceptions, than 
religion ? And in what can the beauty of the soul consist, 
but in such conceptions — in worthy conceptions of God, of 
ourselves, of our duties, and of our final destination ? What 
can cleanse and tranquillize the heart, that fountain of 
corrupt and unruly passions, like religion? What can 
support us in our misfortunes, as it can ? What can make 
of us more honest men, more useful citizens, and more 
sincere friends than it does? I am almost ashamed, 
Adrast, to speak so seriously to you. It is doubtless not 
the tone which is pleasing to you in a young woman, 
although apparently an opposite one pleases you as little. 
You might hear the same thing from more eloquent lips 
— namely, those of Theophan. 

Scknk 1Y. — Henriette, Juliane, Adrast. 

Hen. (pauses in entering and listens.) Hush ! 

Adr. Do not speak to me of Theophan. One word 
from you has more influence than a lecture of an hour's 
length from him. Are you surprised ? Can it be other- 
wise, with the power which a person whom alone I love, 
whom I adore, must have over me? . . . Yes, whom I 

love I have said the word. I have told the secret 

which would have tormented me for ever if I had kept it, 
but from the disclosure of which I have nothing more to 
hope. You grow pale ! 

Jul. What have I heard, Adrast ? 

Adr. (kneeling to her). Let me swear to you on my 

knees that you have heard the truth I love you, dearest 

Juliane, and will love you for ever. Now, now is my heart 
open and laid bare before you. In vain have I endeavoured 



266 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act IV. 



to persuade myself and others that my indifference towards 
Henriette was the result of my remarking her displeasing 
qualities ; when it was nothing but the result of a pre- 
engaged affection. Ah ! perhaps our lovely Henriette has 
no other fault than that she has a still more lovely 
sister 

Hen. Bravo ! I must let Theophan interrupt this 
scene. (Exit.) 

Scene V. — Juliane, Adrast. 

Adr. (rising in haste). Who spoke there ? 

Jul. Heavens ! it was Henriette's voice. 

Adr. Yes, it was she. What curiosity ! what inquisi- 
tiveness! No, no, I retract nothing; she has all the 
faults which I have laid to her charge, and many more. 
I could not love her, even if I was quite free, and perfectly 
indifferent towards everybody else in the world. 

Jul. What trouble, Adrast, you will bring on me. 

Adr. Fear not ! I shall spare you all vexation by 
departing immediately. 

Jul. By departing ? 

Adr. Yes, I have fully determined on doing so. My 
affairs are in such a state that I should but abuse the good- 
ness of Lisidor if I stayed any longer. And, besides, I 
would rather take my departure freely, than be required 
to do so. 

Jul. You do not consider what you are saying, Adrast. 
By whom should you be required to go ? 

Adr. I know what fathers are, and I know, too, what 
Theophan is. Do not ask me to explain myself more 

clearly. Oh! if I could natter myself that Juliane 

But I will say no more. I will not flatter myself with 
an impossibility. No, Juliane cannot love Adrast ; she 
must hate him 

Jul. I hate nobody, Adrast. 

Adr. You hate me ; for in this case to hate is the same 
as not to love. You love Theophan. Ah ! — here he 
comes. 



Scene VII.] 



THE FREETHINKER 



267 



Scene VI. — Theophan, Adrast, Julia ne. 

Jul. (aside). What will lie say? "What shall I 
answer ? 

Adr. I can conceive at whose instigation you come. 
But what does she expect to gain thereby ? To embarrass 
me ? To draw me after her again ? How fitting for you, 
Theophan, and how becoming your honourable character, 
to be the tool of feminine jealousy. Or you come to cate- 
chise me perhaps ? I will confess everything to you ; 
I am even proud of it. 

Theoph. Of what are you speaking, Adrast ? I do not 
understand a word. 

Jul. Allow me to leave you. Theophan, I flatter 
myself your good opinion of me is such that you will put 
no unjust construction upon my actions, and at least 
believe that I know my duty, and that it is too sacred to 
me to violate even in thought. 

Theoph. Wait a moment What does all this mean ? 

I understand you as little as I have understood Adrast. 

Jul. I am glad that you do not wish to attach im- 
portance to an innocent and trifling matter. But permit 
me (Exit). 

Scene VII. — Adrast, Theophan. 

Theoph. It was Henriette, your love, Adrast, who sent 
me : she said my presence was required here. I hasten to 
you, and hear nothing but riddles. 

Adr. My love ? Oh ! how craftily have you brought 
in that word. Certainly you could not express your 
reproaches more laconically. 

Theoph. My reproaches ? With what then have I to 
reproach you ? 

Adr. I suppose you wish to hear the confirmation from 
my lips. 

Theoph. Tell me only what you wish to confirm. I 
stand here in perplexity. 

Adr. That is too much. What grovelling dissimula- 
tion ! But lest it should become too troublesome to you 
to maintain, I will force you to lay it aside Yes, 



268 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IV. 



all that Henriette lias made known to you is perfectly 

true. She was mean enough to listen to us I love 

Juliane, and have confessed my love to her. 
Theoph. You love Juliane ? 

Adr. (scornfully). And what is worse, without asking 
permission from Theophan to do so. 

Theoph. Make yourself easy on that score. You have 
only dispensed with a slight formality. 

Adr. Your composure, Theophan, in this matter is not 
astonishing. You think you are sure of your game. — 
Ah ! would that you were less so ! Would that I could 
add, with the least probability of truth, that Juliane also 
loves me. What rapture would the dismay cause me 
which would betray itself in your countenance. What 
balm to me, to hear you sigh, and to see you tremble. How 
should I be delighted when you vented your whole rage 
upon me, and, in utter despair, wished me I know not 
where. 

Theoph. Cannot good fortune enrapture you, unless it 
be seasoned with another's misery ? I pity Adrast, truly. 
Love must have showered upon him all its pernicious 
power, since he can speak so unbecomingly. 

Adr. True, from that look, from that language, I 
remember what I am. It is true I am your debtor, 
Theophan : and towards one's debtors one is entitled to ... . 
But patience ! I hope not to be so much longer. I have 
found an honourable man who will rescue me from this 
dilemma. I do not know why he delays. In accordance 
with his promise, he should have been here with the money 
already. I had better fetch him. 

Theoph. One word more, Adrast. I will disclose my 
whole heart to you 

Adr. Hie disclosure would not gratify me much. I 
go now, and I shall soon be able to appear before you with 
a bolder countenance. (Exit.} 

Theoph. (alone). Unyielding spirit ! I almost despair of 
my undertaking. Everything is useless with him. But 
what would he have said, had he given me time to repay 
his confession by another of a similar nature ? . . • . She 
is coming ! 



Scene VIII. 



THE FREETHINKER. 



269 



Scene VIII. — Henriette, Lisettf, Theophan. 

Hen. Well, Theophan, did not I help you to a nice 
sight ? 

Theoph. You are merry, dear Henriette. But what 
sight do you mean ? After much difficulty and trouble, I 
have scarcely been able to make out the outline of the 
matter. 

Hen. What a pity ! — Then you came too slowly, and 
Adrast was no longer on his knees before my sister. 
Theoph. Was he kneeling before her ? 
Lis. Alas ! for both of you ! 

Hen. And my sister stood there I cannot describe 

it to you stood there, almost as if she beheld him with 

pleasure in that uncomfortable position. I feel for you, 
Theophan. 

Theoph. Shall I also pity you, compassionate girl ? 
Hen. What ! pity me ? Wish me good luck. 
Lis. No ! this indeed cries out for vengeance. 
Theoph. How does Lisette mean, that one should be 
revenged ? 

Lis. Do you wish to be ? 
Theoph. Perhaps. 
Lis. And you also, Fraulein ? 
Hen. Perhaps. 

Lis. Good ! those are two perhapses, out of which one 
may make something. 

Theoph. But it is still very doubtful whether Juliane 
returns Adrast's love ; and if that is not the case, I should 
be thinking of revenge too soon. 

Lis. Oh ! the good Christian soul ! It only just 
remembers that it is not right to take revenge . 

Theoph. Not so satirical, Lisette ; the question here is 
concerning a very innocent revenge. 

Hen. That is my opinion also ; concerning a very inno- 
cent revenge. 

Lis. Who denies that? So innocent that it may be 
taken into consideration with a good conscience. Just 
listen ! Your revenge, Herr Theophan, is doubtless a male 
revenge, is i ; not ? and your revenge, Fraulein Henriette, 



270 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IV. 



is doubtless a female revenge. Now, a male revenge and a 
female revenge — let me see ; how shall I manage it ? 

Hen. You are a simpleton with your males and 
females. 

Lis. Come, help me a little, Herr Theophan What 

do you think of it ? If two people must travel the same 
road, do you not think it advisable that they should keep 
each other company ? 

Theoph. Certainly : provided that the two persons can 
put up with each other. 

Hen. That is the point ! 

Lis. (aside). Will neither of them bite ? — Then I must 
try another tack. {Aloud.) It is true, as Herr Theophan 
said just now, that it is still very uncertain whether 
Fraulein Juliane loves Hen* Adrast. And I add, that it 
is still very uncertain whether Herr Adrast really loves 
Fraulein Juliane. 

Hen. Oh ! be quiet, you unhappy sceptic. It must be 
certain now. 

Lis. Men now and then have certain attacks of a 
certain weathercock illness, which arises from a certain 
overcharge of the heart. 

Hen. /rom a certain overcharge of the heart. 
Granted. 

Lis. I will tell you directly what that is. As persons 
who have overeaten themselves, do not rightly know any- 
more what suits and what does not suit their palate, so is 
it with those who have overcharged the heart. They na 
longer know on which side the overcharged heart lies, 
and then it often happens that trifling mistakes of persons 
arise. Am 1 not right, Herr Theophan ? 

Theoph. I will consider it. 

Lis. You indeed are a better sort of man ; and I look 
upon you as too prudent to overload your heart in that 
fashion. But do you know, a thought strikes me 
whereby we may easily get at the truth respecting Herr 
Adrast and Fraulein Juliane. 

Theoph. Well? 

Hen. You would make me curious, if I had not got at 
the truth already. 

Lis. How if we created a false alarm ? 



Scene VIII.] THE FREETHINKER. 



271 



Hen. What do you mean by that ? 

Lis. A false alarm is an alarm for which there is no 
real cause, hut which still has the power of attracting the 
enemy's attention to a certain extent. For example : to 
discover whether Fraulein Juliane loves Adrast, Herr 
Theophan would have to feign to be in love with someone 
else ; and to discover whether Adrast loves Fraulein 
Juliane, you would have to feign to be in love with some- 
one else. And since it would not do at all that Herr 
Theophan should pretend to be in love with me, and still 
less that you should pretend to be in love with his servant 
Martin, the long and short of my advice is, that you 
pretend to be in love with each other. I only speak of 
pretending to be — remark particularly what I say, only 
pretending to be, otherwise the false alarm might turn 
out to be true. Now tell me, both of you, is not the idea 
a good one ? 

Theoph. (aside). If I do not go away she will make me 
declare my sentiments. (Aloud.) The idea is not so bad, 
but 

Lis. You must only pretend, you know. 

Theoph. The pretending is the very part that does not 
please me. 

Lis. And you, Fraulein ? 

Hen. I do not like pretending either. 

Lis. Are you both afraid that you would play your 
parts too naturally ? What are you about, Herr Theophan ? 
Why are you so absorbed, Fraulein ? 

Hen. dear ! It must be the first time iu my life 
if I am. 

Theoph. I must leave you a few moments, dear Hen- 
riette 

Lis. You need not do that. You shall not say of me 
that I have talked you away. Come, Fraulein Henriette. 

Hen. Your chattering is really very annoying some- 
times. Come, Theophan, shall I say that you will not be 
absent long ? 

Theoph. If you will be so good. (Henriette and 
Liseite- go off on one side. Whilst Theophan is leaving on 
the other he his met by the Banker.) 



272 



lessing's dkamatic works. 



[Act IV. 



Scene IX. — Theophan. Banker. 

Bank. I beg your pardon, sir ; I wish to speak a word 
with Herr Adrast. 

Theoph. He has just gone out. Will you entrust your 
message to me ? 

Bank. If I may take the liberty. He wished to borrow 
a sum of mone}' of me, which at first I promised to let 
him have ; but I now have scruples on the subject, and 
am come to decline advancing it ; that is all. 

Theoph. Scruples, sir ? What scruples ? Surely none 
as to Adrast's character. 

Bank. Why not ? 

Theoph. Is not his credit good ? 

Bank. Credit, sir, you know what that is. A man 
may have credit to-day, without being sure of having it 
to-morrow. I have been made acquainted with his present 
circumstances. 

Theoph. [aside). I must do all I can that this is not 
made public. (Aloud.) You must have been misinformed. 
Do you know me, sir ? 

Bank. By sight, no ; perhaps when I hear your 
name. 

Theoph. Theophan. 

Bank. A name of which I have never heard anything 
but good. 

Theoph. If 3-ou are not willing to advance the required 
sum to Herr Adrast, on his personal security, would you 
do it on mine ? 

Bank. With pleasure. 

Theoph. Have the goodness then to accompany me 
into my study — I will give you the necessary security — 
so that the surety which I give may remain a secret from 
Adrast. 

Bank. From him ? 

Theoph. By all means; to spare him the annoyance 

which your mistrust would cause to him 

Bank. You are truly a noble friend. 

Theoph. Let us not delay any longer. (Exeunt.) 



Act V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



273 



ACT V. 

Scene I. — TJte Banker enters on one side ; Adrast on the 

other. 

Arm. (to himself). I cannot find the man. 

Bank, (to himself). That will do for me. 

Adr. Why there he is ! Ah ! sir, do I find yon here ? 
We have missed each other, then. 

Bank. I am glad, Herr Adrast, that I have found you 
at last. 

Adr. I have been to your house in search of you. The 
matter admits of no delay. I may trust to you still, I 
suppose ? 

Bank. Yes, now you may. 

Adr. Now? What do you mean ? 

Bank. Nothing. Yes, you may trust to me. 

Adr. I hope you do not mistrust me? 

Bank. Not in the least. 

Adr. Or, that any one has insinuated aught to you? 
Bank. Still less. 

Adr. We have had dealings together before, and I 
trust you will always find me an honourable man. 
Bank. I have no fear. 

Adr. My honour is concerned in putting those to 
shame who are malicious enough to destroy my credit. 
' Bank. I find people do quite the reverse. 

Adr. Oh ! do not say that. I know I have my enemies. 

Bank. But you have friends also. 

Adr. At the most by name. I should deserve ridicule 
if I trusted to them. And I assure you, sir, I am not 
pleased that you have been in this house during my 
'absence. 

Bank. And yet you ought to be pleased. 

Adr. It is true the house is one where I should expect 
nothing but good ; and yet a certain person therein, sir, a 
certain person. ... I know I should have suffered had you 
met with him. 

Bank. I have not really spoken with anyone ; but the 
one person from whom I made inquiries concerning you, 
showed the greatest regard for you. 

VOL. II. T 



274 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act V. 



Adr. I will tell you who the man is whose ill-report 
of me I fear in some measure. It may be as well for you 
to know, that you may be aware who is the author, should 
any reports to my detriment reach your ears. 

Bank. I shall not need to listen to them. 

Adr. But still. ... in a word, it is Theophan. 

Bank, (astonished). Theophan ? 

Adr. Yes, Theophan. He is my enemy. 

Bank. Theophan your enemy ? 

Adr. You appear astonished ! 

Bank. Not without good reason. 

Adr. Because, doubtless, you think that a man of his 
profession cannot be otherwise than generous and noble. 
Bank. Sir 

Adr. He is the most dangerous hypocrite that I have 
ever met with amongst his profession. 
Bank. Sir 

Adr. He knows that I see through him, and on that 
account does all he can to undermine my character. 
Bank. I beg, sir, 

Adr. If you have a good opinion of him, you are much 
mistaken. Perhaps, indeed, you are only acquainted with 
him through his fortune, and on that score I have nothing 
to say ; he is rich, but just his riches give him the oppor- 
tunity to do mischief in the most subtle manner. 

Bank. What do you say ? 

Adr. He employs indescribable intrigues to drive me 
from this house ; intrigues to which he can give such an 
innocent appearance, that I am myself astonished. 

Bank. This is too much ! I cannot longer keep silence. 
Sir, you deceive yourself in the most astonishing manner. 

Adr. I deceive myself? 

Bank. Theophan cannot possibly be the man you give 
him out to be. You shall hear all : I came here to retract 
the promise I formerly made you ; I had heard particulars 
respecting you, from good authority, but not from 
Theophan, which induced me to take this step. I found 
him here, and I thought there would be no objection to 
my telling him my business. 

Adr. Theophan ! How the base fellow must have 
chuckled I 



Scene III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



275 



Bank. Chuckled ! He spoke for yon most decidedly. 
And, in short, it is entirely through him that I keep to my 
first promise. 

Aur. Through him! What do I hear? 

Bank. He has given me an assurance, under his hand, 
which I may consider as security for you. It is true he 
forbad me to speak a word on the subject to any one ; but it 
was impossible for me to stand by and hear an honest man 
so undeservedly reviled. You may send for the required 
sum when you please. But you will have the goodness 
not to let him know anything about it. He showed 
so much sincerity and friendship for you throughout the 
whole transaction, that he must be a monster if he can 
carry dissimulation so far. Farewell ! (Exit.) 

Scene II. — Adrast. 

Adr. What new trick is this? I cannot collect my 
thoughts! It is not to be endured! Slights, insults — 
insults through the object which must be dearest to him 
— all is in vain ; nothing makes him feel. What can 
render him so callous ? Malice alone : nought but his 
wish to bring his revenge to maturity. Whom would not 
this man deceive ? I hardly know what to think. He 

forces his favours upon one in a manner But cursed 

be both his favours and his manner. Even if no snake 
lay concealed beneath these flowers, still I could not do 
otherwise than hate him. Hate him I will, even if he 
should save my life. He has robbed me of that which is 
more precious than life — the heart of Juliane ; a theft 
which he cannot replace ; no, not if he gave me his life. 
But he will not attempt to atone for it. I give him credit 
for too much. 

Scene III. — Theophan, Adrast. 

Theoph. In what violent excitement I find you again, 
Adrast ! 

Ai'R. It is your doing. 

Theoph. Then it must be one of those deeds which we 
perform against our inclination, and when we are earnestly 

t 2 



276 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act V. 



striving to effect the reverse. I wish nothing more than 
to see you tranquil, that you may discuss with me, in cool 
blood, a matter which affects us both most closely. 

Adr. Confess, Theophan, is it not the highest degree 
of cunning, when a man can so execute his designs that 
those against whom they are aimed do not themselves 
know what reproaches they can make in return for them ? 

Theoph. Without doubt. 

Adr. Congratulate yourself then, for you have reached 
that point. 

Theoph. What do you mean now? 

Adr. I promised you to pay the acknowledged bill. 
(Ironically.) You must not take it ill, it cannot now be 
done. I will write you another bill in place of the one 
you have destroyed. 

Theoph. (in the same ironical tone). It is true, I destroyed 
it for no other purpose than to have another one from you. 

Adr. That may or may not have been your intention ; 
but you shall have it. Would you not also like to hear 
why it is no longer in my power to pay you ? 

Theoph. Well, why ? 

Adr. Because I am not fond of sureties. 

Theoph. Sureties ? 

Adr. Yes ; and because 1 do not wish to pay into your 
right hand what I have been obliged to take from your 
left. 

Theoph. (aside). The Banker has not kept his word 
with me. 

Adr. Do you understand me? 

Theoph. I cannot say with certainty. 

Adr. I take every possible trouble to be under no obli- 
gation to you : must it not then annoy me that you make 
it appear as if 1 had good reason to be under much ? 

Theoph. I am astonished at your skill in viewing 
everything in the worst light. 

Adr. And as you have heard, I am also astonished at 
yours, in concealing the bad side so excellently. In fact, 
I scarcely know myself what I am to think of it. 

Thkoph. Because you will not take the most natural 
view of the subject. 

Adr. This most natural view, you perhaps mean, is, 



Scene III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



277 



that I should think that you have taken this step from 
generosity, from an anxiety for my good name. But, with 
your permission, that would just be the most unnatural. 

Tiieoph. Yet you are right : for how would it be 
possible that a man of my profession could ever possess 
sentiments half so humane ? 

Adr. Let us for once set aside your profession. 

Theoph. Can you do that ? 

Adr. Suppose then, that you are not one of those who, 
to maintain a character for piety, conceal their passions as 
much as possible ; who at first learn hypocrisy for decency's 
sake, and eventually retain it as a second nature ; who are 
bound by their principles to withdraw themselves from 
the society of honourable people, whom they call children 
of the world, or at least to have communication with them 
with no other view than the mean one of drawing them 
over to their own way of thinking: suppose, I say, you 
are not one of these ; you are at least a man who can 
feel an insult, I suppose ? And, to sum up all in one word, 
are you not a lover, who can feel jealousy ? 

Theoph. I am much pleased that you have at last 
come on to that subject. 

Adr. But do not imagine that I shall speak on it 
with any moderation. 

Theoph. Then I must endeavour to employ so much 
the more. 

Ami. You love Juliane, and I. . . . I. . . . But why do 

I search for words ? I hate you on account of this love, 
although I have indeed no title to the beloved object : and 
should not you hate me also, you who have a right, which 
I envy? 

Theoph. Certainly I should not. But let us examine 
the right which you or I may have to Juliane. 

Adr. If this right depended upon the strength of oui 
love, perhaps I might still contest it with you. It is your 
good fortune that it rests upon the consent of a father 
and the obedience of a daughter. 

Theoph. Upon that, however, I will not let it depend. 
Love alone shall decide* But, observe, not our love only, 
but principally hers, which you think I possess. If yoci can 
convince me that you are loved in return by Juliane 



278 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act V. 



Adk. You will resign your claims in my favour ? 
Theoph. I must. 

Adr. How contemptuously you deal with me. You 
are sure of your game, and satisfied that you risk nothing 
by this rodomontade. 

Theoph. You cannot tell me then whether Juliane 
loves you ? 

Adr. If I could, do you think I would refuse to annoy 
you with this advantage ? 

Theoph. Stay ! you make yourself more inhuman than 
you really are. Well ! I will — I will tell you : Juliane 
loves you. 

Adr. What do you say ? — But I had almost for- 
gotten, in the rapture of this assurance, from whose mouth 
I hear it. Oh ! yes, Theophan, yes ! one may mock one's 
enemies : but will you not also assure me, to make this 
mockery perfect, that you do not love Juliane either? 

Theoph. (vexed). It is quite impossible to speak a 
reasonable word with you. (Turns to go.) 

Adr. (aside). Is he angry? (Aloud.) Stop, Theophan, 
do you know that the first angry look which I have ever 
seen on your face, makes me curious to hear this reasonable 
word. 

Theoph. (angry). And do you know, I begin to be tired 
of your abusive manner. 

Adr. (aside). He appears to be in earnest. 

Theoph. (still angry). I shall endeavour to let you find 
Theophan such as you fancy him to be. 

Adr. Pardon me ; but I think I see more sincerity in 
your resentment than I ever did in your friendship. 

Theoph. Extraordinary man ! Must one put one's-self 
on your level ? must one be equally proud, equally suspi- 
cious, equally insolent with yourself, to win your pitiful 
confidence ? 

Adr. I must pardon you this language on account of 
its novelty. 

Theoph. It shall become common enough for you. 

Adr. But to speak truth, you completely puzzle me. 
Must you tell me, with a smiling countenance, that on 
which all my happiness depends ? I entreat you, tell me 
again what I just now took for mockery. 



Scene III.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



279 



Theoph. If I repeat it, do not imagine that I do it on 
your account. 

Adr. Then I shall put all the more faith in what you say. 
Theoph. But without interrupting me, I beg. 
Adr. Proceed then. 

Theoph. In the first place, I will give you the key to 
what you are going to hear. My affection has not deceived 
me less than yours has deceived you ; I perceive and 
admire all the virtues which make Juliane an ornament 
to her sex ; but .... I do not love her. 

Adr. You do not 

Theoph. It is quite immaterial whether you believe 
me or not. I have taken the greatest trouble to convert 
my esteem into love. But whilst doing so, I have had 
many opportunities of remarking that Juliane has ex- 
perienced the same difficulty. She wished to love> me, 
but she did not love me. The heart cannot be reasoned into 
anything ; and in this case, as in others, maintains its inde - 
pendence of the understanding. One may act the tyrant 
over it, but not constrain it. And what good does it do, 
to make one's-self a martyr to one's reason, when one 
knows at the same time that no peace of mind is to be 
gained by it ? I therefore pitied Juliane — or rather, I 
pitied myself. I no longer restrained my growing prefer- 
ence for another person, and saw with pleasure that 
Juliane was too weak or too kind to restrain hers. But it 
was for a man who is as unworthy of her as he is un- 
worthy to have a true friend. Adrast would long ago 
have been aware that his happiness lay in her, if he had 
been calm enough to take a right view of anything. He 
observes everything through the coloured glass of his 
own preconceived opinions, and that but superficially ; and 
would often rather belie his senses than renounce his 
prejudices. Since Juliane considered him amiable, I could 
not possibly conceive him depraved beyond remedy. I 
sought for the best means of making known to both of 
them that they need not consider me as a hindrance to 
their union. I came here now with this purpose, but 
Adrast only allowed me to enter upon the subject after 
the most unseemly opposition. I should have left him 
without a word more, if I had not constrained nryself, for 



280 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act V. 



the sake of her for whom, from the bottom of my heart, I 
wis t everything which she herself desires. I have nothing 
more to say. (is going.) 

Adr. Where are you going, Theophan? Judge by my 
silence how great my astonishment must be! It is a 
human weakness easily to be convinced of that which one 
ardently wishes. Shall I indulge this weakness ? or shall 
1 suppress it ? 

Theoph. I have no wish to be present at your deliber- 
ation. 

Adr. Woe to him who would jest with me in so cruel 
a manner ! 

Th eoph. May your torturing uncertainty, then, reven ge 
me on you. 

Adr. (aside). Now I will catch him. (Aloud.) Allow me 
to say one word more, Theophan. How can you be angry 
with a man who doubts more through astonishment at his 
own good fortune than through mistrust of you ? 

Theoph. Adrast, I will confess my shame at having 
been angry for one moment, as soon as you express a wish 
to talk rationally. 

Adr. If it be true that you do not love Juliane, will it 
not be necessary to let Lisidor know it ? 

Theoph. Certainly. 

Adr. And that is really your intention 

Theoph. Yes ; and the sooner the better. 

Adr. You will tell Lisidor that you do not love 
J uliane ? 

Theoph. Why not? 

Adr. And that you love another ? 

Theoph. By all means ! So that he may have no reason 
to charge Juliane with breaking off the engagement. 

Adr. Will you indeed do all this immediately ? 

Theoph. Immediately ? 

Adr. (aside). Now I have him. (Aloud.) Yes! im- 
mediately. 

Theoph. But will you also take the same step ! Will 
you also tell Lisidor that you do not love Henriette ? 
Adr. I am most anxious. 
Theoph. And that you love Juliane ? 
Adr. Do you doubt it ? 



Scene III. J 



THE FREETHINKER. 



281 



Theopii. Very well ; coine then. 
Adr. (aside). He really will ? 
Tiieoph. Come, quick ! 
Adr. Consider it well. 
Tiieoph. What shall I consider ? 
Adr. There is still time. 

Theoph. It is you that hesitate. Come — (going on first.) 
You linger? You are lost in thought? Why do you 
look at me with such astonishment ? 

Adr. (after a pause). Theophan! 

Theoph. Well ; am I not ready ? 

Adr. (affected). Theophan ! You are really an honour- 
able man after all. 

Theoph. Why do you think that now ? What has that 
to do with the matter ? 

Adr. Why do I think so now ? Can I require a 
stronger proof that my happiness is not a matter of indiffer- 
ence to you ? 

Theoph. You acknowledge this very late, but still you 
do acknowledge it. My dear Adrast, give me your hand. 

Adr. I am ashamed. — Leave me to myself, I will 
follow you shortly. 

Theoph. No, I will not leave you alone. Is it possible 
that I have overcome your dislike? that I have over- 
come it by a sacrifice which costs me so little ? Ah ! 
Adrast, you do not know yet how selfishly I am acting ; 
perhaps I shall again lose all your regard . . . . I love 
Henriette. 

Adr. You love Henriette ? Good heavens ! Then we 
may both be happy yet. Why did we not explain our- 
selves sooner ? Oh, Theophan ! Theophan ! I should- 
then have regarded your conduct with very different eyes. 
You would not have been exposed to the acrimony of my 
reproaches, of my suspicion. 

Theoph. . No excuses, Adrast. Prejudice and an unfor- 
tunate attachment are two evils, either of which is suffi- 
cient to change a man's nature completely. But why do^ 
we delay here any longer? 

Adr. Yes, Theophan, let us hasten now. But if 
Lisidor opposes- us — if Juliane loves another 

Theoph. Fear not. — Here is Lisidor. 



282 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act V. 



Scene IV. — Lisidor, Theophan, Adrast. 

Lis. You are pretty fellows ! Am I always to be left 
alone with, your cousin, who is quite a stranger to rne ? 

Theoph. We were on the point of coming to you. 

Lis. What have you been about now ? Quarrelling 
again ? Believe me, one gets nothing by arguing. You 
are both right, doubtless both right. For example — (to 
Theophan)— this man says reason is weak ; and this man — 
(looking at Adrast) — says reason is strong. The first proves 
with strong argument that reason is weak, the latter with 
weak argument that reason is strong. Now, is that not 
just the same ? Weak and strong, or strong and weak : 
pray what is the difference ? 

Theoph. Excuse me, but we have not been speaking 
either of the strength or the weakness of reason. 

Lis. Well ! then it was perhaps of something else, 
equally indifFerent. Perhaps of liberty. Whether a 
hungry donkey stuck between two bundles of hay, pre- 
cisely like each other, has the power of eating from the 
first that comes, or whether the donkey is such a donkey 
that he prefers to starve ! 

Adr. No, that was not our discussion either. We were 
occupied about a matter that concerns you principally. 

Lis. Me? 

Theoph. You, in whose hands our happiness lies. 

Lis. Oh ! You will do me a kindness if you will take 
it into your own as soon as possible. You mean your 
happiness with my girls ? I have already long wished to 
get them off. A man is a man, and a girl is a girl; and 
as for happiness, it is like a glass, easily broken. 

Theoph. We can never be sufficiently grateful for the 
near alliance with which you deign to favour us. There 
ifi still, however, one great difficulty. 

Lis. What? 

Adr. A difficulty which it was impossible to see 
before. 

Lis. How now ? 

Theoph. and Adr. We must confess to you 

Lis. Both at once? What is it? I must interrogate 
you in order. What have you to confess, Theophan ? 



Scene V.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



283 



Theoph. I must confess to you that I do not love 
Juliane. 

Lis. Not love her ? Do I hear right ? And what is 
your confession, Adrast ? 

Adr. I must confess to you that I do not love Hen- 
rietta 

Lis. Not love her ? You not love, and you not love ; it 
is not possible. You wranglers, who have never yet agreed 
on any point, are going to do so now for the first time 
when it is a question of leaving me in the lurch ? Ah J 
you are joking, now I begin to see it. 

Adr. We? Joking? 

Lis. Or else you are not right in your heads. You do 
not love my daughters ? Why the girls will cry their 
eyes out. But why not, let me ask ? What is the matter 
with Juliane that you cannot love her ? 

Theoph. To tell you the truth, I believe her heart is 
occupied with thoughts of another. 

Adr. And that is just what I suspect of Henriette — 
not without reason. 

Lis. Oh ! oh ! I must get to the bottom of this. 
Halloa ! Lisette ! Lisette ! So you are both jealous, are 
you, and only wish to threaten ? 

Theoph. Threaten ? Where we have the greatest need 
of your kindness. 

Lis. Halloa there ! Lisette ! 

Scene Y. — Lisette, Lisidor, Theophan, Adrast. 

Lise. Well ! Here I am ! What is the matter ? 
Lis. Tell them to come here directly. 
Lise. Who? 

Lis. Both of them ; do you not hear ? 
Lise. My young Mistresses ? 
Lis. Of course. 

Lise. I will fetch them immediately. {Turning round 
again.) Cannot I tell them beforehand what they are to 
come for. 

Lis. No! 

Lise. (Goes out and returns). But if they ask me ? 
Lis. Will you go ! 



284 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act V. 



Lise. I am going. (Returns again.) Is it anything 
particular ? 

Lis. I think it is you, you monkey, who wish to know 
it before they do ! 
Lise. Gently ! I am not so curious. (Exit.) 

Scene VI. — Lisidor, Theophan, Adrast. 

Ia>. You have completely confounded me all of a I 
sudden. But patience ! patience ! I will soon put the 
matter right again. A pretty business it would be if I 
had to look about for another pair of sons-in-law. You 
were just to my mind ; and I shall not get such a pair 
together again, even if I have them made to order. 

Adr. Look about for other sons-in-law ? With what 
misfortune do you threaten us ? 

Lis. Why you would not marry the girls without 
loving them ? You will excuse me there. 

Theoph. Without loving them ? 

Adr. Who said that ? 

Lis. Then what did you say ? 

Adr. I adore Juliane. 

Lis. Juliane ! 

Theoph. I love Henriette, more than myself. 

Lis. Henriette ! Humph ! now my heart suddenly 
grows light again. Is that the difficulty? Then it is 
nothing more than that you have fallen in love with one 
another's sweethearts? Well, an exchange will set the 
whole affair right again. 

Theoph. You are very kind, Lisidor. 

Adr. You consent then ? 

Lis. What am I to do ? It is certainly better that 
you change before marriage than after. If my daughters 
are satisfied, so am I. 

Adr. We flatter ourselves they will be so. But after 
the good will which you have shown us, there is still a 
confession which I cannot withhold from you. 

Lis. Another one ? 

Adr. I should not act like an honourable man, if I 
concealed the state of my finances from you. 
Lis. What about your finances ? 



feOExVE VII.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



285 



Adr. My fortune is so wasted, that when I have paid 
all my debts I shall have nothing left. 

Lis. Oh ! do not talk about that : did I ask you what 
fortune you had? I know well enough that you have 
been a wild blade, and squandered everything ; but just for 
this reason I give you my daughter, that you may have 
something again. Hold i here they come ; now let me 
speak 



Scene VII. — Juliane, Henriette, Lisette, Lisidor, 
Theophan, Adrast. 

Lise. Here they are, Herr Lisidor ; we are most curious 
to know what you have to say. 

Lis. Cheer up, my girls ! I have good news for you. 
To-morrow it shall be all right. Think of that. 

Lise. What shall be all right ? 

Lis. Nothing will be all right for you. Cheer up, my 
girls ! Weddings ! Weddings ! Why, you look as doleful 
.... What is the matter, Juliane ? 

Jul. You shall always find me an obedient daughter ; 
but just this once, let me represent to you that you would 
be hurrying me. Heavens! to-morrow? 

Lis. And you, Henriette ? 

Hen. I, dear father ! Oh ! I shall be ill to-morrow — 
sick unto death. 

Lis. Put it off till the day after. 

Hen. It cannot be ; Adrast knows my reasons. 

Adr. I know, lovely Henriette, that you do not like me. 

Theoph. And you, dearest Juliane, do you mean to obey ? 
How near do I appear to be to my happiness, and how far 
am I perhaps from it still. With what countenance shall 
I tell you that I am not worthy of your hand ? that, with 
all the esteem which I cannot but feel for such a faultless 
being, I do not dare to feel that for you which I can feel 
for one person alone in the whole world. 

Lise. Why, that is a flat refusal. It is not allowed 
for men too to give such things. So, quick, Juliane, out 
with it. 

Theoph. My explanation could give offence to none 



286 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act T. 



but a vain woman ; and I know that Juliane is so far 
above such weakness 

Jul. Ah ! Theophan, I perceive you have read my 
heart too well. 

Adr. Well, you are free, lovely Juliane. I have no 
further avowal to make than what I have already made. 
What may I hope ? 

Jul. My dear father — Adrast — Sister — Theophan 

Lise. Kow I see it all. Their grandmamma must 
know it at once. (Lisette runs off.) 

Lis. (to Juliane.) Do you see, girl, what a pretty 
business you have made ? 

Theoph. And what do you say, dearest Henriette? 
Is not Adrast a faithless lover ? Ah ! would you but cast 
your eyes on a truer one ! We talked just now of revenge, 
an innocent revenge. 

Hex. It is a bargain, Theophan : I will be revenged. 

Lis. Take care, Henriette ! Have you forgotten the 
illness you are going to have to-morrow ? 

Hen. I shall not be at home, if it comes. 

Lis. Now, are not you strange people ? I wished to 
bring together birds of the same feather ; but I see you 
have a piebald taste. The serious was to have the serious, 
and the lively the lively ; but no, the serious wants the 
lively, and the lively the serious. 

Scene VIII. — Frau Philane, with Lisette. (The rest 
as hefore.) 

Frau Phi. Children, what do I hear ? is it possible ? 

Lis. Yes, mamma, it is ; and I suppose you will not say 
nay. They want 

Frau Phi. I say nay? This change has been my 
wish, my prayer. Ah, Adrast ! Ah, Henriette ! often 
have I trembled for you. You would have been an un- 
happy couple. You both require a companion who knows 
the path of duty better than yourselves. Theophan, you 
have long had my blessing ; but if you court more than 
this, if } T ou court the blessing of heaven, make such a 
character of Henriette as is worthy of you. And Adrast, 
I have hitherto considered you a bad man, but we will 



Scene VIII.] 



THE FREETHINKER. 



287 



hope. He who can love a pious woman, must already be 
on the road to piety himself. For this I rely upon you, 
Juliane. And above all things, induce him not to treat 
honest people — good clergymen, so contemptuously as he 
has treated Theophan. 

Adr. Madam, do not remind me of my injustice. Oh ! 
if I am always in the wrong in the same degree as I have 
been in my conduct to you, Theophan, what a man, or 
rather, what a wretch I must be. 

Lis. Now, did I not say that you would be the best 
friends in the world, as soon as you became brothers-in- 
law ? This is but the beginning. 

Theoph. I repeat it, Adrast, you are a better man than 
you imagine ; better than till now you have wished to 
appear. 

Frau Phi. Well, it is a comfort too, to hear that. 
(To Lisidor.) Come, my son, give me your arm. I am 
tired of standing, and my joy has made me forget that I 
left Araspe alone. 

Lis. Ah ! to be sure, this is something to tell him. 
Come, mother. But no more changing, no more chang- 
ing ! 

Lise. Poor me ! how badly I come off, with nothing 
to change. 



THE TREASUBE. 

(A COMEDY IN ONE ACT.) 



The 1 Treasure ' was written in the year 1750 



vol. n. 



17 



DEAMATIS PEKS0N2E. 



Leander. 

Staleno, Leander's Guardian, 
Philto, An old Man. 
Anselmus. 

Lelio, Son of Anselmus. 

Maskarill, Lelio's Servant. 

Eaps. 

A Porter. 

The Scene is in a Street* 



THE TREASURE. 



Scene I. — Leander, Staleno. 

Stal. What ! Leander, so young, and you have already 
iound a girl to your taste ? 

Lean. She will be so much the more pleased that I am 
young : and yet not very young either. If I was twice 
as old, I might already have children as old as I am. 

Stal. And I am to let you have her ? 

Lean. Yes, my dear Guardian, if you will have the 
kindness. 

Stal. Dear Guardian! It is long since I have heard 
that. If you will have the kindness ! How polite one 
suddenly "becomes when one is in love. But what sort of 
a person is she ? for you have not told me that yet. 

Lean. A most delightful girl ! 

Stal. Has she money ? How much will she have ? 

Lean. She is beauty itself; and as innocent, too— as 
innocent — as I am. 

Stal. Does she also talk already of the children she 
might have? But tell me, how much will she have? 

Lean. If you saw her, you would fall in love with her 
yourself. An oval, plump face, but nothing childish in 
it ; a -figure like a reed 

Stal. And how much will she have ? 

Lean. As straight as a reed. Not thin, and yet not 
stout eithei . You doubtless know that a young lady to be 
really beautiful, must be neither one nor the other. 

Stal. And how much will she have ? 

V 2 



292 LESSING's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene L 



Leaj , She carries herself in such a manner ; ah ! dear 
Herr Staleno, in such a manner .... And I assure you she 
never learnt to dance ; it came to her by nature. 

Stal. And how much will she have ? 

Lean. If her face was not out-and-out the most lovely 
one to be conceived, her manners alone would make her the 
most agreeable person under the sun. I cannot conceive 
who can have taught her them. 

Stal. Will you listen ! I am asking you about her 
marriage-portion ? How much will she have ? 

Lean. And talks .... She can talk like an angel. 

Stal. How much will she have? 

Lean. You will hardly meet with more intelligence 
and virtue than she possesses in any other of her sex. 
Stal. Very good, very good ; but how much will she 

have ? 

Lean. Moreover, she comes of a good family, dear 
Guardian ; of a very good family. 

Stal. The good families are not always the richest. 
How much will she have ? 

Lean. By-the-by, I forgot to tell you, that she also 
sings very well. 

Stal. The Devil ! Don't let me ask the same question 
a hundred times. First and foremost, I wish to know 
how much she will have. 

Lkan. It was only yesterday evening I heard her 
sing for the first time. How enchanted I was ! 

Stal. Do not make fun of your guardian. If you will 
not give me an answer, go your way, and let me go 
mine. 

Lean. Why, you are quite angry, dearest Guardian. 
I was on the point of answering your question. 
Stal. Well, do so, then. 

Lean. What was it ? Yes, I recollect. You asked if 
she was a good housewife. Oh ! an incomparable one ! I 
am convinced she will save her husband thousands every 
year. 

Stal. There is something in that ; but that was not 
what I asked. I asked — don't you understand your native 
language — I asked, is she rich? whether she will have 
a good dowry ? 



Scene I.] 



THE TKEASURE. 



293 



Lean, {sorrowfully). A dowry ? 

Stal. Yes, a dowry. What is she worth ? the young 
gentleman has never troubled himself about that. Oh ! 
youth! youth! that hair-brained youth should be so in- 
different about that which is of the very utmost con- 
sequence ! Well, if you do not know yet what your young 
lady will have — why go and find out. Then we can talk 
more of the matter. 

Lean. We may do that at once, if you are not averse 
to it. I have not been so thoughtless ; I have already 
made inquiries. 

Stal. Then you know what she is to have? 

Lean. To a fraction. 

Stal. And how much is it ? 

Lean. Not a great deal, certainly. 

Stal. Well, who wants a great deal ? Only what is 
just. You have plenty yourself, you know. 

Lean. Oh ! you are an excellent man, my dear Guardian. 
It is true I am rich enough to be able to dispense with 
money in her. 

Stal. Will the girl have the half of your fortune ? 

Lean. The half? No, not the half. 

Stal. A third part ? 

Lean. Nor a third part, 

Stal. Surely a fourth ? 

Lean. Hardly. 

Stal. At any rate, I suppose, it is an eighth ? then it 
would be a few thousand thalers, which on commencing 
house-keeping are soon enough gone. 

Lean. I have told you already it is not much, not in 
any way much. 

Stal. But not much is still something. How much ? 

Lean. Little, dear Guardian. 

Stal. How little, then ? 

Lean. Little. You know yourself what little means. 

Stal. Now out with it. I must have a name. Express 
it by numbers. 

Lean. Why the little, Herr Staleno, is ... . nothing 
at all. 

Stal. Nothing at all ! Indeed ! You are right ; no- 
thing is little enough. But, seriously, are you not ashamed, 



294 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WOltKS. [Scexe L 



Leander, to be so foolish as to choose a girl for a wife 
who has nothing ? 

L ban. What do you say ? Has nothing ! She has 
everything which belongs to a perfect woman ; money is 
the only thing she has not. 

Stal. That is to say, she has everything which could 
make a perfect woman, if she only had that which does 
make a perfect woman. — Say no more, I must know best 
what is good for you. But may I know who this 
beautiful, amiable, accomplished beggar is? what her 
name is? 

Lean. That is wrong of you, Herr Staleho. If it 
depended on merit we should all be poor, and this beggar 
would alone be rich. 

Stal. Tell me her name, then, that I may know what 
else to call her. 

Lean. Camilla. 

Stal. Camilla ! Surely not the sister of the dissolute 
Lelio ? 

Lean. The same. Her father is one of the most 
honourable men in the world. 

Stal. J s, or was. It is now nine years since he left 
this place ; and for four years nobody has had any tidings 
at all of him. Who knows where the honest Anselmus is 
lying ? It is as well for him, perhaps, that he does not 
return ; for if he did come, and saw the state his family 
is in, he would vex himself to death. 

Lean. You knew him, then ? 

Stal. I should think so. He was my most intimate 
friend. 

Lean. And you will be so cruel to his daughter ? You 
would prevent my placing her again in the position she 
deserves. 

Stal. Leander, if you were my son, I would not say a 
word against the match ; but, remember, you are only my 
ward. Your feelings might alter when you grew older, 
and if you become tired of the pretty face — for the best 
foundation is here wanting — all the blame would fall 
on me. 

Lean. What! My feelings alter? I cease to love 
Camilla? I 



Scene lit.] 



THE TREASURE. 



295 



Stal. Wait till you are your own master, then you 
can act as you please. If, indeed, the young lady was 
still in the same circumstances in which her father left 
her — if her brother had not squandered everything— if 
old Philto, to whom Anselmus entrusted the care of his 
children, had not been an old rogue — why then I would 
certainly myself do all in my power that nobody but 
you should win Camilla. But, since that is not the case, 
I will have nothing to do with it. Go home again. 

Lean. But, my dear Herr Staleno. 

Stal. Your flattery is all to no purpose. What I have 
said, I have said. I was just going to old Philto, who in 
other respects is a good friend of mine, to read him a 
lesson on his behaviour towards Lelio. He has even 
bought the house from this dissolute youth now — the last 
thing they had left. That is too bad ; that is not to be 
defended. Go, Leander ; do not detain me longer. We 
can speak more of this at home. 

Lean. In the hope that you will think better of the 
matter, I will go. You will come back soon, I suppose. 

Stal. Yes. 

Scene II. — Staleno. 

Stal. It certainly does not answer to tell people the 
truth, and upbraid them with their own bad deeds ; one 
generally makes enemies thereby. But be it so. I will 
not have that man for a friend who has so little conscience. 
Could I ever have imagined that Philto, the man in whom 
I had such confidence. . . . Ah ! there he comes, just in the 
nick of time. 

Scene III. — Staleno, Philto. 
Stal. Good day, Herr Philto. 

Phil. What, is that you, Herr Staleno ! How are you, 
my dear old friend ? Where were you going ? 

Stal. I was just in the act of coming to you. 

Phil. To me ? Why, that is capital. Come, I will 
turn back with you directly. 

Stal. It is not necessary, if only I can speak with you. 
It is all the same to me whether it is in your house or in 



296 



LESSING's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene III. 



the street. I would rather talk with you in the open air 
to be clear of contagion. 

Phil. What do you mean by contagion ? Have I had 
the plague since I saw you ? 

Stal. Something worse than the plague. Oh! Philto! 
Philto ! are you the honourable Philto, whom the town 
has hitherto numbered amongst the few men of real 
weight and value ? 

Phil. That is a capital beginning to a castigatory 
sermon. How do I come by it? 

Stal. What pretty stories are told about you in the 
town ! An old knave, a skin-flint, a leech — these are the 
best of your titles. 

Phil. Mine ? 

Stal. Yes, yours. 

Phil. I am sorry for it. But what is to be done? 
One must let people talk. I cannot prevent any person 
from thinking or speaking ill of me ; enough if I am 
conscious they do me injustice. 

Stal. Are you so indifferent about it ? I was not so 
indifferent when I heard it. But this coolness is not 
enough to justify you. One is often cool, because one 
feels that one has no right to be hasty and angry. 
Should any one speak so of me .... I would break the 
neck of the first who did. I trust, however, that I should 
never, by my actions, give occasion for it. 

Phil. May I then hear what is the crime that I am 
accused of? 

Stal. You must have come to an understanding with 
your conscience that it does not occur to you immediately. 
Tell me, was Anselmus your friend ? 

Phil. He was, and is so still, far as we now are from 
each other. Do you know that on his departure he 
entrusted his son and daughter to my care? Would he 
have done that, if he had not considered me his true 
friend ? 

Stal. Ah ! honest Anselmus, how have you deceived 
yourself ! 

Phil. I trust he has not deceived himself. 
Stal. No ? Well, well, if I had a son whom I wished 
to see in a state of extreme depravity, I certainly would 



Scene III.] 



THE TREASURE. 



297 



entrust him to your guardianship. He has become a 
pretty fellow, has Lelio ! 

Phil. Now you lay that to my charge of which you 
have always hitherto acquitted me. Lelio committed his 
dissolute excesses without my knowledge ; and when I 
heard of them, it was already too late to prevent them. 

Stal. I no longer believe that ! for your last trick 
betrays your intentions. 

Phil. What trick? 

Stal. To whom has Lelio sold his house ? 
Phil. To me. 

Stal. Welcome, Anselmus ! You may now sleep in 
the streets. Shame, Philto ! 

Phil. I have fairly paid the three thousand thalers 
for it. 

Stal. Fairly to lose the name of an honourable man. 

Phil. Ought I not to have paid the money then ? 

Stal. Oh ! Don't pretend to be so silly. You ought 
not to have bought anything from Lelio. To help such 
a man to money — is not that putting a knife into the 
hand of a madman, that he may cut his own throat? 
Is not that entering into partnership with the son, to 
ruin the father without mercy ? 

Phil. But Lelio had the greatest need of the money. 
With part of it he had to free himself from a disgraceful 
imprisonment. And if I had not bought the house, 
somebody else would. 

Stal. Others might have done as they pleased. But 
do not excuse yourself; one cannot but see your real 
reason. The house is worth about four thousand thalers; 
it was to be sold for three thousand, and I have the best 
claim, thought you, to the profit. I am fond of money 
likewise : but look you, Philto, I would sooner have had 
this right hand of mine cut off than have been guilty of 
so mean an action, even could I have gained a million 
by it. In short, to finish the business, our friendship is 
at an end. 

Phil. Now truly, Staleno, you press me hard. I 
believe you will induce me, by your invectives, to trust 
a secret to you which no other person on earth should 
have learnt from me. 



298 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene III. 



Stal. Do not be anxious about anything you may 
entrust to me. It is as safe with me as with yourself. 

Phil. Just look round about, and see that nobody is 
listening. — Look well ! — Are you sure nobody is peeping 
out of those windows ? 

Stal. This really must be a most secret secret. I do 
not see anybody. 

Phil. Well, listen. On the very day that Anselmus 
took his departure, he drew me aside, and led me to a 
particular spot in his house. My dear Philto, said he, 
1 have one thing more to make known to you. Here, in 
this .... Wait a little, Staleno, I see somebody there ; 
we will let him pass first. 

Stal. He has gone now. 

Phil. Here, said he, in this cellar, under one of the 

.... Stop ! there comes a 

Stal. It is only a child. 
Phil. Children are curious. 
Stal. It has gone. 

Phil. Under one of the stones of the floor, said he, I 
have .... There is something running there again. 
Stal. It is nothing but a dog. 

Phil. But it has ears ! I have, said he (looking 
anxiously from side to side), buried a small sum of money. 
Stal. 'What! 

Phil. Hist ! hist ! Who would say such a thing twice ? 

Stal. A sum of money ! A treasure ! 

Phil. Yes ; but, I say, if any one heard ! 

Stal. Perhaps a sparrow, flying over our heads. 

Phil. I have, continued he, been saving long enough, 
and have put up with much for it. I am now going to 
travel. I leave my son sufficient to live upon, I dare not 
leave him a farthing more. He has every disposition to 
be a dissolute man, a,nd the more he had, so much the 
more would he squander. What would then remain 
for my daughter ? I must be prepared for any event ; my 
journey is a long and dangerous one : who knows if I may 
ever return. A certain part, therefore, of this sum shall 
be a dowry for my Camilla, if a good opportunity present 
itself for her to marry. My son shall have the remainder; 
but not before you have certain intelligence of my death. 



BOENE III.] 



THE TREASURE. 



299 



Till that time, I entreat you, Philto, with tears I entreat 
you, my good friend, to let Lelio know nothing about it ; 
keep it moreover a secret from everyone, lest by chance 
he hear it from a third person. I promised my friend all, 
and took an oath upon it. Now tell me, Staleno, when 1 
heard that Lelio was determined to sell the house, the 
very house in which the money is concealed, tell me, I 
say, what could I do ? 

Stal. What do I hear ? By my faith ! the matter 
now assumes a different aspect. 

Phil. Lelio had advertised the house for sale while T 
was absent in the country. 

Stal. Ha ! ha ! The wolf had observed that the sheep- 
dog was away from the flock. 

Phil. You may imagine that I was not a little alarmed 
when I returned to town. It was done. Could I then 
betray my friend, and disclose the treasure to the dissolute 
Lelio ? Or should I let the house go into the hands of a 
stranger, from whom perhaps Anselmus would never 
have recovered it ? To take the treasure away — that was 
not to be done. In a word, I saw no other remedy than 
to purchase the house myself, to save both one and the 
other. Anselmus may now return to-day or to-morrow ; 
I can give both over to him. You must see that I do not 
want the house I have bought ; I have turned out son and 
daughter, and shut it up. No one shall enter it again 
but its lawful owner. I perceived beforehand that the 
people would abuse me ; but I prefer appearing dishonest 
for a short time, to really being so. Am I still in your 
eyes an old cheat, a leech? 

Stal. You are an honourable man, and I am a fool. — 
I wish the people who must needs know all the gossip, 
and go about with stories which have neither head nor 
tail, were hanged. What stuff have they not whispered 
to me about you ! But why was I such an old ass as to 
believe it all ? Do not take it ill of me, Philto ; I was too 
hasty. 

Phil. I take nothing ill where I see the intention is 
good. You had my good name at heart, and that pleases 
me. Much yon would have troubled yourself about it if 
you had not been my friend. 



300 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene IIL 



Stal. Indeed, I am quite angry with myself. 
Phil. Do not be so. 

Stal. I am quite distressed that I could have imagined 
any dishonesty on your part for a single instant. 

Phil. And 1 am quite pleased with you, that you have 
been so open with me. A friend, who tells one to one's 
face anything objectionable that he notices in one, is now 
very rare ; one must not quarrel with him, even if he be 
only right once in ten times. Only be equally kind to 
me in the future. 

Stal. That is what I call spoken as a man ought to 
speak ! Agreed ! we are friends, and will remain so. 

Phil. Agreed ! Have you anything else to say to me ? 

Stal. I think not. Oh ! yes, I have. ( Aside.) Per- 
haps I can give my ward an unexpected pleasure. 

Phil. What is 'it ? 

Stal. Did you not say that a part of the hidden 
treasure was to be a dowry for the young Camilla ? 
Phil. Yes. 

Stal. To what will that part amount ? 
Phil. To six thousand thalers. 

Stal. Not so bad. And if a suitable match for the 
six thousand thalers — for Miss Camilla, I should say — 
were to offer, would you have a mind to say yes to it ? 

Phil. If the match was suitable, why not ? 

Stal. For example — my ward. What do you think ? 

Phil. What ! young Herr Leander ? Has he an eye 
on her ? 

Stal. That he has, both eyes. He is so wrapt up in her, 
that he would rather marry her to-day than to-morrow, 
even if she came to him without clothes on her back. 

Phil. That is what I call love ! Truly, Herr Staleno, 
your proposal is not to be despised. If you are in 
earnest 

Stal. Quite in earnest ! I should not joke about six 
thousand thalers. 

Phil. But will Camilla have Leander ? 

Stal. At any rate he will have her. When twenty 
thousand thalers wish to marry six thousand, why the 
six will not be mad and give the twenty their conge. The 
girl can surely count. 



Scene III.] 



THE TREASURE. 



301 



Phil. I believe if Anselmus should return home to- 
day he could not wish to see his daughter better provided 
' for. Very well, I take the responsibility upon myself. 
Consider the matter settled, Herr Staleno. 

Stal. If the six thousand thalers are forthcoming. 

Phil. Oh! confound it! The greatest difficulty only 
just occurs to me. Must Leander have the six thousand 
thalers at once — down ? 

Stal. He need not, but then he must not have Camilla 
at once, either. 

Phil. Pray give me your advice, then. The money is 
concealed ; if I take it out, where shall 1 say that I got it 
from ? If I tell the truth, Lelio will smell a rat, and not 
be talked over to believe that more money cannot lie in 
the same place where the six thousand have lain. Shall 
I say that I give the money from my own fortune ? That 
I should not care to do ; for the people would only find 
a fresh inducement to slander me in that. " Philto," they 
would perhaps say, "would not be so generous, did not 
his conscience whisper to him that he had cheated the poor 
children out of too- much." 

Stal. That is true. 

Phil. And for that reason T should think it would be 
as well if the dowry could remain till Anselmus's return. 
Leander is quite sure of having it. 

Stal. Leander, as I have said, would care nothing 
about it. But, my dear Philto, I, who am his guardian, 
must be just as careful of calumny as you. " Yes ! yes !" 
would be muttered, " the rich ward is in good hands ! 
A girl without a farthing is now tacked to him, and the 
poor creature, to show her gratitude, will understand 
how she must behave towards the guardian. Staleno is 
cunning ; such an account as he has against Leander is 
not likely to be readily paid off. A female intercessor, 
who will keep her husband's eyes shut when he wishes to 
look into matters, is not so bad." Such comments I beg 
to decline. 

Phil. You are right. But how is the matter to be 
managed ? Do think a little. 
Stal. You think, too. 
Phil. What if we 



302 



LESSIXG'S DRAMATIC WOEKS. [Scene III. 



Stal. Well? 

Phil. No ! that will not do. 

Stal. Oh ! I tell you what ! Supposing .... That 

will not do either. 

PHIL. Could not One (Spoken at the same moment, 

c ^ , , i {aft'r they have been thinking 

Stal. One would have to \/ or sorrie ^ 

Phil. What did you mean ? 
Stal. What were you going to say ? 
Phil. Go on. 
Stal. No, you. 

Phil. I should like to hear your ideas first. 
Stal. And I yours. Mine are not quite ripe. 
Phil. And mine .... mine have slipped away again. 
Stal. What a pity ! But stop ! mine begin to ripen 
.... Now they are ripe. 
Phil. That is good ! 

Stal. What if we got some fellow privately, for a 
good bribe, who was impudent enough, and had sufficient 
gift of the gab, to tell ten lies in a breath ? 

Phil. How could he help us ? 

Stal. Why, he would have to disguise himself, and 
give out that he came from some out-of-the-way country 
or other. 

Phil. And 

Stal. And that he has spoken with Anselmus 

Phil. And 

Stal. And that Anselmus has made him the bearer of 
letters, one to his son, and one to you. 
Phil. And what then ? 

Stal. Why, do you not see what I intend? In the 
letter to his son must be written — that Anselmus cannot 
return yet ; that Lelio in the meantime shall look after 
the house, and husband his income well, and more of the 
same kind. In your letter it must be written — that 
Anselmus has reflected upon the age of his daughter ; 
that lie would willingly know that she was married ; that 
he has sent her such and such a sum for her marriage- 
portioD, in case a good offer should arise. 

Phi l. And the fellow must pretend that he has brought 
the money for the dowry with him, eh ! 



Scene IV.] 



THE TREASURE. 



303 



Stal. Exactly so. 

Phil. That will do admirably! — But what if the son 
know his father's handwriting ? What, if he remembers 
his seal ? 

Stal. Oh ! there are a thousand ways to manage that. 
Do not alarm yourself before your time. I have this 
moment bethought me of a man who will be able to play 
the part to perfection. 

Phil. Indeed ! Go then at once and settle what is 
necessary with him. I will see about the money imme- 
diately ; for the present I would rather take it from my 
own, until I can disinter it with safety. 

Stal. Do so ! Do so ! In half an hour the man shall 
be at your house. (Exit.) 

Phil, (alone). It is disagreeable enough to me that 
I am obliged in my old age to practise such devices,- and 
particularly on that scamp Lelio's account. There he 
comes himself, with the friend who leads him into all the 
mischief. They appear to be talking earnestly ; without 
doubt some creditor is after them again. (Betires a 
little.) 

Scene IV. — Lelio, Maskarill, Philto. 

Lelio. And that is all that remains from the three 
thousand thalers ? (Counts.) Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, 
fifty, five-and-fifty. Only fifty-five left ! 

Mask. It appears almost incredible to me. Let me 
count them. (Lelio gives him the money.) Ten, twenty, 
thirty, forty, five-and forty. Yes, sure enough ! five-and- 
forty, and not one fraction more. (Gives him the money 
back. ) 

Lelio. Five-and-forty ! Five-and-fifty you mean. 

Mask. Oh ! I think I have counted better than you. 

Lelio. (after he has counted the money to himself). Ha ! 
ha ! You conjuror ! you have used your hands as pockets ? 
Allow me just 

Mask. What do you please to wish ? 

Lelio. Your hand, Herr Maskarill. 

Mask. Oh ! nonsense ! 

Leho, I beg 



304 



LESSING'e DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene IV. 



Mask. No, no ! T — I — feel ashamed 

Lelio. Ashamed? That would be something new for 
you. Without further fuss, rascal, show me your hand. 

Mask. I tell you, Herr Lelio, I am ashamed ; for the 
fact is — I have not yet washed my hands to-day. 

Lelio. There it is ! It is no wonder, then, that every- 
thing remains sticking to the dirt. (Opens his hand and 
finds the money between his fingers.} Do you see what a 
necessary virtue cleanliness is ? You were within an ace 
of being taken for a dishonest fellow, whereas you are 
only a dirty one. But, in earnest : if you have taken 
your ten thalers discount from every fifty, why then, 
from the three thousand — let us see — not more than six 
hundred have crept into your pocket. 

Mask. Zounds ! one would hardly believe that a spend- 
thrift could reckon so well. 

Lelio. And even then I do not rightly see how the 
whole sum is to be accounted for. Just think, three thou- 
sand thalers 

Mask. Are soon disposed of. In the first place, the 
bill drawn that was sued for 

Lelio. That does not make it. 

Mask. The housekeeping of your sister 

Lelio. Is a trifle. 

Mask. To Herr Stiletti, for oysters and French 
wines 

Lelio. Were a hundred and twenty thalers. 

Mask. Debts of honour paid 

Lelio. They cannot have amounted to much more. 

Mask. Another kind of debts of honour, which were 
not contracted at play — and yet they were, too — due to 
the good and honest Frau Lelane and her amiable nieces. 

Lelio. Pass over that. For a hundred thalers one can 
buy a great many ribbons, shoe-buckles, and lace cuffs. 

Mask. But your tailor 

Lelio. What, was he paid out of it ? 

Mask. Why no ! he is not paid yet. And I 

Lelio. And you ? Yes, truly, I must reckon more for 
you than for the bill, or for Herr Stiletti, or for Frau 
Lelane. 

Mask. No, no, sir ; I was going to say that I have not 



Scene IV.] 



THE TREASURE. 



305 



yet been paid, either. I have let my wages run on un- 
paid for seven years. 

Lelio. You have thereby had a seven years' licence to 
cheat me in every possible way, and have known so well 
how to make use of it 

Phil, (coming up to than). That finally the master 
will have to wear the livery of the servant. 

Mask. A prophecy ! It surely came from heaven. 
(Looking round him.) Ha ! ha! Herr Philto, did it come 
from you ? I am too generous to wish you the fate of the 
modern prophets. But if you have been listening to us, 
say yourself, is it permitted that a poor servant, looking 
for his wages for seven long years 

Phil. You should find your wages at the gallows. 
Lelio, I would speak a word with you. 

Lelio. Anything but reproaches, Herr Philto; I' may 
deserve them, but they are now too late. 

Phil. Leander has made an offer, through his guardian, 
Herr Staleno, to your sister. 

Lelio. To my sister ? That is good news indeed. 

Phil. Undoubtedly it would be good news ; but there 
is a difficulty about the settlements. Staleno did not 
know that you had got through everything. As soon as 
I told him he withdrew his consent. 

Lelio. What do you say ? 

Phil. I say that you have made your sister miserable. 
The poor girl must now remain single through your 
fault. 

Mask. Not through his fault ; but through the fault 
of an old miser. I wish the deuce would fetch all selfish 
guardians, and everything that looks like one (looking 
at Philto.) Must a girl, then, have money, to become the 
honourable wife of an honourable gentleman ? And, at 
all events, I know who might well give her a dowry. 
There are people who are accustomed to buy houses cheap. 

Leuo. (thoughtful.) Camilla is indeed to be pitied. 
Her brother is a good-for-nothing vagabond. 

Mask. You must settle that matter with yourself, if 
you choose to abuse yourself. But, Herr Philto, a small 
gift of a thousand thalers, in consideration of the cheap 
purchase 

VOL. II. x 



306 



lessing's deamatic works. 



[Scene V. 



Phil. Adieu, Lelio. You appear to be struck by the 
news I have given you. I will not interrupt good 
reflections. 

Mask. And not willingly indulge in any yourself. 
Isn't that the case ? Otherwise the small gift I spoke of 
would furnish an excellent subject. 

Phil. Maskarill, take care of my small gifts. The 
coin may not be of the sort to please you. (Exit.) 

Mask. It must be worthless coin if it has not some 
value at the gaming table. 

Scene Y. — Maskarill, Lelio. 

Mask. What is the matter now? Why, you hardly 
make such a sour phiz even when you count your trumps 
in a confounded bad hand .... And yet what will you bet 
that I don't know your thoughts ? . . . . " Now, it is a 
cursed unlucky thing," think you, " that my sister should 
not marry the rich Leander." How I would like to have 
fleeced my new brother-in-law ! 

Lelio. (still in thought). Listen, Maskarill ! 

Mask. Well ? — but I cannot hear you think, you must 
speak. 

Lelio. Are you inclined to make good the numerous 
acts of roguery you have practised upon me, by one single 
honest deed ? 

Mask. A droll question ! For what, then, do you take 
me ? For a deceiver who is an honest man ; or for an 
honest man who is a deceiver ? 

Lelio. My good, honest Maskarill, I take you for a 
man who might lend me a few thousand thalers, at least, 
were he only willing to lend me as much as he has robbed 
me of. 

Mask. Oh ! good, honest Maskarill ! And what would 
you do with these few thousand thalers ? 

Lelio. Give them to my sister for her marriage por- 
tion, and afterwards I would shoot myself through the 
head. 

Mask. Shoot yourself through the head ! It is true 
that would not be running away with the money from 
me ; but yet (As if meditating.) 



Scene V.] 



THE TREASURE. 



307 



Lhlio. You know, Maskarill, I love my sister. I must 
therefore do all in my power for her now, if she is not 
to think ill of her brother for the rest of her life. Be 
generous, and do not refuse me your assistance. 

Mask. You take me on my weak side. I have a deuced 
propensity for generosity ; and your fraternal affection, 
Herr Lelio, really quite enchants me. It is altogether 
noble, altogether grand ! and then your sister deserves it 
so truly. And I feel myself constrained 

Lelio. Oh ! my good Maskarill ! let me embrace you. 
Heaven grant that you may have cheated me out of a 
good large sum, that you may be able to lend me a good 
deal. Could I ever have conceived that you possessed 
such a tender heart. But tell me, how much can you 
lend me ? 

Mask. I lend you, sir ! 

Lklio. You need not say, " Sir." Call me your friend ; 
I at least shall consider you my best and only friend, till 
the day of my death. 

Mask. Heaven forbid ! Should I forget the respect 
which I owe to you on account of such a paltry trifling 
obligation ? 

Lelio. What, Maskarill, you are not only generous 
you are modest also ? 

Mask. Do not put my modesty to the blush. I will 
lend you then, for ten years 

Lelio. For ten years ? What unbounded kindness ! 
For five years is sufficient, Maskarill ; or for two years if 
you please. Only lend me money, and make the time for 
payment as near as you will. 

Mask. Well then, I will lend you, for fifteen years 

Lklio. I must let you have your own way, noble 
Maskarill. 

Mask. For fifteen years will I lend you, without any 
interest 

Lelio. Without interest! To that I can never consent. 
I will not pay less than fifty per cent, for the sum you 
lend. 

Mask. Without any interest, T say. 
Lelio. I am most thankful, Maskarill but forty per 
cent, you must take at any rate. 

x 2 



308 



LESSLNG'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Scene V. 



Mask. Without any interest whatever 

Lelio. Do you think I am mean enough to abuse your 
kindness ? If you will be satisfied with thirty per cent., 
I shall consider it a proof of the greatest disinterestedness. 
Mask. Without interest, I say. 

Lelio. But I beg, Maskarill — consider, the most 
Christian of Jews would take twenty per cent. 

Mask. In a word, without interest, or else 

Lelio. Well, then 

Mask. Or the loan falls to the ground altogether. 
Lelio. Well, well, as you are determined that your 

kindness to me shall have no bounds whatever 

Mask. Without interest 

Lelio. Without interest ! I really feel ashamed ! 
Without interest, then, you lend me for fifteen years .... 
what ? How much ? 

Mask. I will lend you, without interest, for fifteen 
years, the hundred and seventy-five thalers which are 
owing to me from you for seven years' wages. 

Lelio. What do you say ! the hundred and seventy- 
five thalers which I owe you 

Mask. Constitute my whole fortune ; and I am willing 
to let you have them, from the bottom of my heart, for 
fifteen years longer, without interest, without any 
interest ! 

Lelio. And you really mean it, rascal ? 

Mask. Rascal? That does not sound at all grateful. 

Lelio. I see now how we stand, you dishonourable, 
worthless, infamous rogue and deceiver. 

Mask. A wise man is equally indifferent to praise or 
blame, flattery or reproach. You have seen that before, 
and you see it again. 

Lelio. With what face can I go into the presence of 
my sister? 

Mask. With a shameless one, is my advice. One has 
never done anything dishonest, so long as one has the 
heart to justify one's conduct. " It is a misfortune for 
you, sister, I allow. But who can help it ? May I die 
if I ever thought for a moment in my extravagance that 
I was spending your money at the same time." Some- 
thing of that sort you must say to her, sir. 



Scene VI.] 



THE TREASURE. 



309 



Lelio. {after thinhing a little time.) Yes, that is the 
only thing. I will propose it to Staleno myself. Come, 
knave ! 

Mask. The way to your club where I am to accompany 
you is here. 

Lelio. The devil take your club ! But is not that 
Herr Staleno himself that I see coming this way ? 

Scene VI. — Staleno, Lelio, Masaatull. 

Lelio. Sir, I was about to take the liberty of calling 
on you. 1 have learnt from Herr Philto the sentiments 
of your ward towards my sister. Do not consider me so 
depraved that it would not pain me beyond measure if 
she shouid remain single through my fault. It is true 
my excesses have brought me down terribly; but poverty 
which threatens me alarms me much less than the 
reproaches which I should have to make myself, on my 
beloved sister's account, if I did not endeavour, by all 
means in my power, to ward off from her, as much as 
is still possible, the misfortune which I have brought 
upon her through my folly. Consider, therefore, Herr 
Staleno, whether the offer which I am about to make 
deserves any attention. Perhaps it is not unknown to 
you, that my aged godmother left me in her will a tolerably 
comfortable farm. This I still have — though, as you 
may readily imagine, there is a mortgage on it — notwith- 
standing which it still brings in so much per annum 
that I could contrive to live upon it. I will give it over 
to my sister with pleasure. Your ward has money 
enough to pay the mortgage and make considerable 
improvements on it, of which it is capable. It might 
then be considered as no mean dowry, for want of 
which, as Herr Philto has told me, you alone oppose the 
match. 

Mask, (in a whisper to Lelio). Are you mad, Herr 
Lelio ? 

Lelio. Silence ! 

Mask. The only property you still have left ! 
Lelio. Have I to account to you for it ? 
Mas-'.. Are you going begging afterwards ? 



310 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene VIT. 



Lelio. I will do as I please. 

Stal. {aside), I see how it is. Yes, Herr Lelio, it is 
true that I had to oppose the match on account of the 
total absence of dowry, willingly as I otherwise should 
have seen the marriage take place. So, if you are really 
in earnest in this proposition, I might still consider the 
matter. 

Lelio. It is my settled determination, Herr Staleno. 
Mask. Pray take back your word ! 

Lelio. Will you ■ 

Mask. Just consider 

Lelio. A word more, and ■ 

Stal. First of all, Herr Lelio, you must make a plan 
of the farm to me, and an exact account of every debt 
you have on it. Then we will talk further of it. 

Lelio. Certainly. I will go this instant and prepare 
both documents. When can I speak with you again ? 

Stal. You will always find me at home. 

Lelio. Farewell for the present. {Exit.) 

Scene VII. — Staleno, Maskarill. 

Mask, {aside). Now I must do him a kindness against 
his will. How shall I begin ? Hem ! . . . . Stay for one 
moment, Herr Staleno 

Stal. What is it ? 

Mask. I look upon you as a man who knows how to 
set a proper value on a well-meant warning. 

Stal. Then you look upon me as being what I am. 

Mask. And for a man who does not imagine that a 
servant is betraying his master when he does not want to 
take part with him in everything. 

Stal. Why certainly a servant should have as little 
share as possible in the evil his master does. But why 
do you say that ? Has Lelio any design against me ? 

Mask. Be upon your guard ; I beg, I conjure you. I 
conjure" you, by everything that is dear to you in the 
world ; by the happiness of your ward ; by the honour of 
your grey hairs 

Stal. You speak indeed as one who conjures. But 
why am I to be upon my guard ? 



Scene VII.] 



THE TREASURE. 



311 



Ma^k. Because of the offer that Lelio has made you. 
Stal. But why? 

Mask. In short, you and your ward are both lost if 
you accept the farm. In the first place, I must tell you 
that he has mortgaged it for almost as much as the whole 
concern is worth. 

Stal. Well, Maskarill, if it is only almost as much 

Mask. Eight ; something would be still to be gained 
from it. But only listen to what I have to tell you. 
The spot where the farm lies must be the very place 
where all the curses that ever have been uttered against 
the earth have flowed together. 

Stal. You alarm me ! 

Mask. Whilst all the farmers in the neighbourhood 
have the most plentiful harvest, the fields belonging to 
this farm scarce return the seed. A murrain every year 
quite clears out the cattle sheds. 

Stal. Then one must not keep cattle on the farm. 

Mask. Herr Lelio thought so too, and for that reason, 
sold the bullocks and sheep, horses and pigs, poultry and 
pigeons a long time ago. But when the murrain cannot 
find cattle — what do you think ? — it attacks the men. 

Stal. You do not mean it ! 

Mask. Yes, indeed. No ploughboy has held out for 
half a year there, even with an iron constitution. Herr 
Lelio hired the strongest fellows that were to be found 
in the Wend country. But what use ? The spring came ; 
they were all dead. 

Stal. Well, then, one must try the Pomeranians. 
They are people who can stand more than the Wends ; 
men of stone and iron. 

Mask. And the timber on the farm, Herr Staleno 

Stal. Well, the timber? 

Mask. In the whole estate there is no tree to be found 

which has not either been struck by lightning 

Stal. Struck by lightning ! 

Mask. Or on which some one has not, at some time or 
other, hanged himself. Lelio is so enraged with the 
abominable timber that he is having it thinned every day. 
And — would you believe it ? — he sells the wood which is 
cut there for half-price. 



312 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene VH 



Stal. That is bad. 

Mask. Why, he cannot do otherwise ; for those who 
"buy it, and attempt to burn it, are monstrous venture- 
some. With some people it has blown up the ovens, with 
others it has sent such a pestiferous fume that the kitchen- 
maid, standing on the hearth, has fallen fainting into the 
arms of the cook. * 

Stal. But, Maskarill, are you not telling me a parcel 
of lies ? 

Mask. I do not tell a lie, sir, when I tell you that I 
cannot lie. . . . And the ponds 

Stal. What, the farm has ponds too ? 

Mask. Yes, but ponds in which more men have been 
drowned than there are drops of water in them. And 
so since the fish feed chiefly upon human bodies, you 
may easily conceive what sort of fish they must be. 

Stal. Large and fat fish, doubtless. 

Mask. Fish which, from the nature of their food, have 
acquired human reason, and therefore are not so silly as to 
be caught any more ; if one lets the water off they dis- 
appear. In a word, there can be no corner in the w^hole 
world where disadvantages, and misfortunes of all kinds, 
are to be met with, so certainly and in such numbers, as at 
this miserable farm. Tradition tells us also, and history 
confirms it, that for some three hundred and fifty years — 
or even four hundred years— no one possessor of the pro- 
perty has died a natural death. 

Stal. Except the old godmother who left it to Lelio. 

Mask. One does not like to speak of it, but even the old 
godmother 

Stal. Well? 

Mask. The old godmother was smothered at night 
by a black cat which she always had about her : and 
it is very probable — very probable — that this black cat 
was the devil ! Heaven knows how it will fare with my 
master. It has been foretold to him that robbers would 
murder him. I must allow, he takes the greatest pains 
to render this prophecy false, and to keep off the thieves 
from him by a generous sacrifice of all his property, but 
still 

Stal. But still, Maskarill, I shall accept his offer. 



SCEXE IX.] 



THE TREASURE. 



313 



Mask. You will ? Oh, no, that I am sure you will riot. 
Stal. Assuredly I will. 
Mask, (aside). The old fox. 

Stal.' (aside). How I torture hirn ! The rogue ! ( Aloud) 
But, Maskarill, I thank you for your advice. It may so far 
profit me, that I may accept the farm for my ward and sell 
it again directly. 

Mask. The best thing would be to have nothing to do 
with it. I have not told you nearly all yet. 

Stal. Save yourself the trouble ; I have no leisure 
now. Another time, Maskarill, I may listen to your non- 
sense again. (Exit.) 

Scene VIII. — Maskarill. 

Mask. All to no purpose. Was I too stupid or he too 
sharp? Ah, well, I shall be the least loser. If Lelio 
wishes to part with everything, he may if he likes. I can at 
length manage without such a master as he is My sheep 
are safe in their fold. What I now do for him, I shall do 
out of pity. He was always a trump ; and I should not 
like him to fare so badly at last. But march ! — Ah ! Why, 
there is a stranger. I have not so much to do that I 
cannot trouble myself about new people. A useful thing 
is curiosity. 

Scene IX. — Anselmus, a Porter, Maskarill. 

Ansel. Heaven be praised, that I see my house, my 
dear home, again at length ! 
Mask. His house ? 

Ansel, (to the Porter). Put the trunk down here, my 
good man. I will have it taken in presently. — I have 
paid you, haven't I ? 

Por. Oh, yes, sir ! Oh, yes ! But. . . . doubtless you 
are pleased — very happy to be at home again. 

Ansel. That I am. 

Por. I have known people who would give a trifle 
extra to a poor devil, when they were very happy. But 
you have paid me, sir, you have paid me. 

Ansel. Well, there ; I will give you a trifle extra. 



314 



LESSING's DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene IX. 



Por. All ! all ! I am right glad that I did not deceive 
myself : I took you at first sight for a generous gentleman. 
Oh ! I can trust myself there. Heaven reward you. 
(Exit.) 

Ansel. No one is visible about the house. I must 
knock. 

Mask. The man is clearly mistaken. 
Ansel. It seems as if all the household was dead. God 
forbid ! 

Mask, (approaching him). Sir, I beg pardon. Excuse 
me — (falling back). The deuce ! . . . . I ought to know 
that face. 

Ansel. May heaven forgive you your stupidity ! But 
what do you want ? 

Mask. I wished. ... I wished 

Ansel. Well, what are you marching round me for ? 
M ask. I wished 

Ansel. To discover, perhaps, where my purse may 
best be got at. 

Mask. I am wrong ; if it was he, he would certainly 
know me too. I am curious, sir, but my curiosity is not 
uncivil, and with all modesty I beg to inquire what you 
want at this house ? 

Ansel. Fellow ! . . . . But now I look at him. Mas 

Mask. Herr An 

Anskl. Maska 

Mask. Ansel 

Ansel. Maskarill. 

Mask. Herr Anselmus. 

Anskl. Is it really you ? 

Mask. It is I ; there is no doubt of it. But you 

Ansel. No wonder that you doubt whether it is I. 

Mask. Can it possibly be ? — surely not ! Herr Anselmus 
has been absent nine years ; and it would be really ex- 
traordinary if he should return just to-day ! Why should 
he return just to-day ? 

Ansel. You might ask that question every day ; and 
at that rate I should never return at all. 

Mask. That is true ! — Well, then, a thousand welcomes, 
my dear Herr Anselmus. And yet, after all, it surely is 
not you ? 



Scene IX.] 



THE TREASURE. 



315 



Ansel. Really it is. And now answer me quick ; 
is all well ? Are my children yet alive — Lelio, Camilla ? 

Mask. Now, indeed, I can no longer doubt if it be you. 
They live, they both live. (Aside) If he could but hear 
the rest of the story from some one else. 

Ansel. God be thanked ! that they both live still. 
They are at home, I suppose? Quick, let me clasp them, 
in my aged arms! Bring the trunk after me, Maskarill. 

Mask. Where to, Herr Anselmus, where to ? 

Ansel. Into the house. 

Mask. Into this house ? 

Ansel. Into my house. 

Mask. That won't exactly do. (Aside.) What shall 
I say next ? 

Ansel. And why not ? 

Mask. This house, Herr Anselmus, is shut up. 
Ansel. Shut up ? 

Mask. Shut up, yes; and for this reason — because 
nobody lives in it. 

Ansel. Nobody lives in it ? Where, then, do my chil- 
dren live? 

Mask. Herr Lelio, and Fraulein Camilla ? They live 
.... live in another house. 

Ansel. Come ! You speak so oddly, so enigmatically. 

Mask. You do not know then what has happened 
lately? 

Ansel. How should I know ? 

Mask. True, you were not here; and in nine years 
many changes may have taken place. Nine years ! a long 
time ! And yet it is certainly very singular .... Nine 
years, nine whole years away, and to return just at this 
time ! Now if that was to happen in a play, every one 
would say, It is not probable that the old man would 
return just at that time. And yet it is true! It was 
possible that he should return at this time, and returned 
at this time he has .... Singular, very singular ! 

Ansel. Oh, you infernal chatterer, detain me no longer, 
but tell me 

Mask. I will tell you where your children are. Your 
daughter is ... . with your son ; and your son is 

Ansel. And my son 



316 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene IX. 



Mask. Has left this house, and lives .... there, do you 
see, down the street, that new corner-house ? Your son 
lives there. 

Ansel. And why does not he live here still? Here, 
in the family mansion ? 

Mask. The family mansion was too large for him — too 
small, too roomy — too confined. 

Ansel. Too large, too small, too roomy, too confined. 
What does that mean ? 

Mask. In truth, you may learn better from himself 
how that is. So much you must at least have heard, that 
he has become a great merchant ! 

Ansel. My son a great merchant ? 

Mask. A very great one ! He has lived for more than 
a year upon nothing but what he has sold. 

Ansel. What do you say ? Perhaps, then, he required 
a large house as a magazine for his goods ? 

Mask. Exactly so, exactly so. 

Ansel. That is excellent ! I have also brought mer- 
chandise with me ; valuable Indian goods. 

Mask. That will be a grand sale ! 

Ansel. Quick, Maskarill ! Take the trunk upon your 
back and lead me to him. 

Mask. The trunk, Herr Anselmus, is very heavy, I 
expect. Wait one moment, I will fetch a porter directly. 

Ansel. You can carry it yourself ; it contains nothing 
but manuscripts and linen. 

Mask. I have lately put my arm out. 

Ansel. Your arm ? Poor devil ! Then go and fetch 
some one. 

Mask, (aside). Come, I got well out of that. Herr 
Lelio ! Herr Lelio ! what will you say to the news ? 
(Exit, hut returns.} 

Ansel. Well, have not you gone yet ? 

Mask. I must take one more look at you, to see if it 
really is you. 

Ansel. Doubt on, you desperate doubter ! 

Mask, (going). Yes, yes, it is he. Nine years away, 
and then to return just at this particular time ! 



Scene XI.] 



THE TREASURE. 



317 



Scene X. — Anselmus. 

Ansel. I must wait here in the open air, I suppose. It 
is well the street is somewhat retired, and that very few 
people will recognise me. Still it will be as well to keep 
an eye to my trunk. Suppose I make a seat of it. Soon, 
very soon now, I trust 1 shall sit more at my ease. I have 
gone through so many dangers and difficulties that I can 
make my last days, days of rest and pleasure with a good 
conscience. Yes, yes, that they shall he. And who 
will blame me ? 1 will just make a slight calculation : 
I possess — (Speaking low-er and lower, and finally counting 
on his fingers in silence.) 

Scene XI. — Raps (in a strange foreign costume), 
Anselmus. 

Raps. One must be able to play every character. I 
should like to see the man who would know Drummer 
Raps in this get-up ? I look like, I hardly know myself 
what ; and am meant to be, I do not know myself who. 
A foolish commission ! foolish indeed ; but never mind 
that, 1 am paid for it. Staleno told me that I was to look 
for my man in this street. He lives near his old house; 
and that is it there. 

Ansel. What hobgoblin is that ? 

Raps. How the people stare at me ! 

Ansel. This figure must belong to the mushroom 
tribe. His hat reaches half a yard on all sides beyond 
his body. 

Raps. Good sir, you stare at me, are you less a stranger 

here than myself? — He won't hear You, sir, sitting 

on the box, could you have the kindness to put me right? 
I am looking for a young gentleman of the name of Lelio ; 
and a baldpate of your kind, who answers to the name of 
Philto. 

Ansel. Lelio ! Philto ! (Aside.) Why, these are the 
names of my son, and my good old friend. 

Raps. If you can show me the house of these people 
you will gain the thanks of a man who will have it in 
his power to trumpet out your politeness at all the four 



318 



LESSING S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Scene XI. 



corners of the world — of a traveller who has been seven 
times round the world, once by sea, twice by coach, and 
four times on foot. 

Ansel. May 1 not know, sir, who you are — what is 
your name — whence you came — what you want with 
those you mention? 

Raps. That is a good deal at once. Which question 
shall I answer first ? If you would ask me each one sepa- 
rately, with politeness, 1 might, perhaps, impart some 
information. For I am communicative, sir, very com- 
municative. (Aside.) I may as well rehearse my part a 
little with him. 

Ansel. Well then, sir, suppose we begin with the 
shortest. What is your name ? 

Raps. With the shortest? My name? Out, quite 
out! 

Ansel. How so? 

Raps. Yes, my good old gentleman, I must tell you — 
now attend to me : if you were to begin quite early, as 
soon as the dawn begins to gray, with my first name, and 
go on and on as quick as you could, I wager that the sun 
would be down before you could anive at the first letter 
of my last name. 

Ansel. Indeed ; then one wants a lantern and a wallet 
with provisions for your name ! 

Raps. Just so. 

Ansel, (aside). The fellow can talk ! (Aloud.') But 
what do you want with young Lelio, and old Philto ? 
Doubtless you have dealings with the former ; Lelio is a 
great merchant, I understand. 

Raps. A great merchant ! I did not know that. No, 
sir, I have only two or three letters for him. 

Ansel. Ah ! ah ! Advices, perhaps, of goods, which 
have been dispatched to him, or something of that kind. 

Raps. Nothing of that kind. They are letters which 
his father intrusted to me for him. 

Ansel. Who ? 

Raps. His father. 

Ansel. Lelio's father ? 

Raps. Yes, Lelio's father, now abroad. He is a great 
friend of mine. 



Scene XL] 



THE TREASURE. 



319 



Ansel, (aside). This man is, to put it politely, a 
scoundrel. Stop, I will soon catch you. (Aloud.) I gave 
him letters for my son ? 

Raps. What do you say, sir ? 

Ansel. Nothing. So you know Lelio's father ? 

Raps. If I did not know him, should 1 have letters 
from him to his son Lelio, do you think, and letters to his 
friend Philto ? There they are. He is my most intimate 
friend. 

Ansel. Your most intimate friend ! And where was 
he, then, this your most intimate friend, when he gave you 
the letters ? 

Raps. He was .... he was .... in capital health. 
Ansel. I am very glad to hear it. But where was he, 
where ? 

Raps. Sir, he was .... on the coast of Paphlagonia. 

Ansel. Was he ? You have told me you know him ; of 
course you mean personally ? 

Raps. To be sure. Have not I finished many a bottle 
of Cape wine with him, on the spot where it is grown ? 
You know where I mean, on the promontory of Capua, 
where Hannibal, in the Thirty Years' War, drank so much 
that he could not march upon Rome. 

Ansel. You are a scholar, I see. 

Raps. In a small way. 

Ansel. Can you tell me what Lelio's father is like ? 

Raps. What he is like ! You are very inquisitive. 
But I am fond of inquisitive people. He is about a head 
taller than you are. 

Ansel, (aside). That is good ! I am taller absent than 
I am present. You have not yet told me his name. What 
is it? 

Raps. He calls himself — precisely as an honourable 
man should call himself. 

Ansel. But let me hear 

Raps. His name is. . . . his name is not the same as his 
son. ... it would have been better if he had had the same 
name, but his name is. . . . Confound it. 

Ansel. Well ? 

Raps. I believe I have forgotten his name. 
Ansel. What ! the name of your friend ? 



320 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene XI. 



Raps. Only have patience. I have it at the tip of my 
tongue. Just mention any name that sounds something 
like it. It begins with an A. 

Ansel. Arnold, perhaps? 

Eaps. No, not Arnold. 

Ansel. Anton ? 

Raps. Nor Anton. Ans — Ansa — Ansi — Asi— Asinus. 
No ! not Asinus, not Asinus. Confounded name ! An — 
Ansel 

Ansel. Not Anselmus ? 

Raps. Right! Anselmus. Deuce take the rascally 
name ! 

Ansel. That is not spoken like a friend. 

Raps. Then why does it stick between one's teeth so. 
Js that friendly, to let one hunt for it so long V I forgive 
it this once. Anselmus is his name, didn't you say? Yes, 
right ! Anselmus. As I said, the last time I saw him 
was on the coast of Paphlagonia, in the harbour of 
Gibraltar. He was about to pay a short visit to the kings 
of Gallipoli. 

Ansel. The kings of Gallipoli ? Who are they? 

Raps. What, sir, do you not know the far-famed brothers 
who reign in Gallipoli, the illustrious Dardanelles ? Some 
twenty years back they made the tour of Europe, and he 
was then introduced to them. 

Ansel, (aside). This nonsense goes on too long; but I 
must discover the drift of it all. 

Raps. The court of the Dardanelles, sir, is one of the 
mcst splendid in all America ; I am certain my friend 
Anselmus will be extremely well received there. He will 
not get away from it very soon either. Foreseeing this, 
and knowing that I was travelling here direct, he gave 
me some letters, to satisfy his family as to the cause of his 
long absence. 

Ansel. That was wisely done. But I have still one 
question to ask. 

Raps. As many as you will. 

Ansel. If, then, most strange gentleman with the 
long name 

Raps. My name is long, certainly : but I also have a 
very short one, the quintessence of the long one. 



Scene XI.] 



THE TREASURE. 



321 



Ansel. May I venture to ask it? 
Raps. Raps. 
Ansel. Raps ? 

Rai-s. Yes, Raps, at your service. 

Ansel. Much, obliged by the offer of your services, 
Herr Raps. 

Raps. Raps means, properly, the son of Rap. My 
father's name was Rap ; my grandfather, Rip, from which 
my father was often wont to be called Rips ; so that, if I 
wished to show off my descent, I might call myself Rips 
Raps. 

Ansel. Well, Herr Riff Raff — to return to my question 
— if anyone was to show you your friend Anselmus now, 
would you know him again ? 

Raps. If I retained my eyesight, doubtless. But it 
seems as if you did not believe yet that I know Anselmus. 
Listen, therefore, to a proof which is above proof. Kot 
only has he given me letters, but also six thousand thalers, 
which I am to hand over to Herr Philto. Would he have 
done that if I were not his second self? 

Ansel. Six thousand thalers ! 

Raps. In good coins of full weight. 

Ansel, (aside). I know not what to think of the fellow 
now. An impostor who brings money is a most extra- 
ordinary impostor. 

Raps. But, sir, we chat here too long. I perceive you 
either cannot or will not show me my man. 

Ansel. One word more! Herr Raps, have you the 
money about you which Herr Anselmus gave you ? 

Raps. Yes. Why? 

Ansel. And it is a fact, that Anselmus, Lelio's father, 
gave you six thousand thalers. 
Raps. Sure enough. 

Ansel. Then give them back to me, Herr Raps. 

Raps. Give what back to you ? 

Ansel. The six thousand thalers you got from me. 

Raps. I six thousand thalers from you ! 

Ansel. You said so yourself. 

Raps. What did I say ? You are .... who are you, then ? 
Ansel. I am that person who gave six thousand thalers 
to Herr Raps. I am Anselmus. 

VOL. II. Y 



322 



lessing's dramatic works. [SOESB XL 



Raps. You Anselmus? 

Ansel. Do you not know me ? The kings of Gallipoli, 
the illustrious Dardanelles, have had the goodness to 
allow me to depart sooner than I expected. And since I 
am now here myself, I will save Herr Kaps any further 
trouble. 

Raps. ( aside). Now wouldn't one swear this man was 
a greater swindler than I am myself. 

Ansel. Don't stand considering, but return me the 
money. 

Raps. Who would believe that an old man could be so 
crafty ! As soon as he hears that I have money in my 
pocket ; bang ! he is Anselmus. But, my good old gentle- 
man, quick as you have Anselmised yourself, so quickly 
must you un-Anselmise yourself again. 

Ansel. \\ ho am I then, if I am not he whom I am? 

Raps. What is that to me? Be who you will, provided 
you are not he whom I don't wish you to be. \\ hy were 
you not at first he whom you are ? And why do you wish 
now to be he whom you were not at first ? 

Ansel. Go on, do ! 

Raps. What shall I do ? 

Ansel. Give me my money again. 

Raps. Do not put yourself to any further inconvenience. 
I told a lie. The money is not in gold, but only in 
paper. 

Ansel. I shall soon begin in a different tone with you. 
You shall know in earnest, Herr Riff Raff, that I am 
Anselmus — and if you do not hand over to me instanter 
both the letters and the money that you had declared you 
had received from me, I will soon call together sufficient 
people to hold such an impostor fast. 

Raps. Then you know for a certainty that I am an 
impostor? And you are yourself for a certainty Herr 
Anselmus ? I have the honour then to wish Herr Ansel- 
mus good-day. (Going.) 

Ansel. You shall not escape so easily, my friend. 

Raps. Oh ! pray, Sir . . . . ( When Anselmus endeavours 
to seize him, Raps pushes Mm bade, on to the trunk again.) 
The old rascal might raise a tumult. I will send some- 
one to you who knows you better. (Exit.*) 



Scene XII.] 



THE TREASURE. 



323 



Ansel. Here I sit again ! Where is lie gone, the rogue ? 
.... where is he gone ? .... I see nobody .... Have I fallen 
asleep on the trunk, and dreamt all this stuff? or ... . hang 
it, dreamt or not, poor I ! there is something in it ; some- 
thing in it without doubt ! . . . . And Maskarill ! Maskarill 
does not come back ! . . . . That is not right either. . . . What 
shall I do ? I will call the first man I find. Hullo ! my 
friend ! hullo, there ! 

Scene XII. — Anselmus, a Porter. 

Por. What do you want, Sir ? 

Ansel. Do you wish to earn a good tip ? 

Por. That is just my business. 

Ansel. Take this trunk then quickly, and go with me 
to Lelio the merchant. 

Por. To Lelio the merchant ? 

Ansel. Yes. He lives in this street, I am told, in the 
new corner house. 

Por. I know no merchant Lelio in all the town. Quite 
another sort of gentleman lives in the new corner house 
there. 

Ansel. Surely not ! Lelio must live there. Otherwise 
he would have dwelt in this house, which also belongs to 
him. 

Por. Now I see who you mean. You mean Lelio the 
rake. Oh ! I know him, well ! 
Ansel. What ? Lelio the rake ? 

Por. Yes ! so all the town calls him ; why should 
I call him otherwise? Old Anselmus was his father. 
He was a nasty shabby chap, who could never get enough. 
He left here on his travels many years since : heaven 
knows for what place. Meantime, while he is toiling 
abroad, or perhaps is already under the ground, his son is 
enjoying himself here. He must now be getting gradually 
down to the dregs of his purse ; but that is all right. A 
collector must have a distributor. I hear he has sold this 
house, too. 

Ansel. What ! Sold ? Now it's all clear ! Ah ! thou 
cursed Maskarill ! . . . . Wretched father that I am ! And, 
oh ! wicked degenerate son ! 

Y 2 



324 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene XIII. 



Poii. Eh ? Yon surely are not old Anselmns himself ! 
Don't take it ill of me if you are. I really did not know 
you, or, I should have been careful not to call you a 
nasty shabby chap. It is not written on a man's fore- 
head who he is. I don't mind if you don't let me earn 
the money you spoke of. 

Ansel. You shall earn it, my good man, you shall 
earn it. But tell me directly ; is it really true that he 
has sold this house ? And to whom has he sold it ? 

Por. Old Philto has bought it. 

Ansel. Philto ? Oh ! dishonourable man ! Is that thy 
friendship ? .... I am betrayed ! I am undone ! . . . . 
He will now deny everything. 

Por. The people looked upon it as bad enough on his 
part that he had anything to do with the sale. Was he 
not to have acted as guardian to your son in your 
absence ? A pretty guardian ! That is what I call giving 
the goose into the care of the fox. All his life he has 
been considered a selfish man ; and a harpy always remains 

a harpy Why there he comes ! I must leave my 

money behind for the present ; people are so strange when 
they hear that they are known. (Exit.) 

Scene XIII. — Anselmus, Philto. 

Ansel. Misfortune upon misfortune ! Come here, 
traitor ! 

Phil. I must see who has the insolence to pass himself 

off for Anselmus Ah ! what do I see ? It is indeed 

he Your hand, my dearest friend. So you have at 

length returned again. Heaven be praised ! . . . . But 
why so downcast ? Don't you know your friend, Philto, 
again ? 

Ansel. I know all, Philto ! I know all. Is that a 
trick which one expects from a friend ? 

Phil. Not a word mere, Anselmus. I understand ; an 

officious slanderer has preceded me This is not the 

place to enter into explanations. Come into your house. 

Ansel. Into my house ? 

Phil. Yes, it is yours still, and never shall belong 
to another against your will. Fortunately I have the key 



Scene XIV.] 



THE TREASURE. 



325 



with me ... . This is your trunk, I suppose ? Take hold ; 
we will carry it in ourselves ; no one will see us. 
Ansel. But my treasure ? 

Phil. That you will also find as you left it. (They 
enter the house, 'pulling the trunk after them.) 

Scene XIV. — Lelio, Maskarill. 

Mask. Well ! Have you seen him ? Is it not Ansel- 
mus? 

Lelio. It is he, Maskarill. 

Mask. If the first meeting was but over ! 

Lelio. I never had such a lively sense of my own 
worthlessness as now, when it prevents me going gladly 
into the presence of a father who has always loved me so 
tenderly. What shall I do? Shall I fly from him? 
or shall I go and fall at his feet ? 

Mask. The last is not much use ; but the first, no use 
at all. 

Lelio. Advise me, then ! Name someone at least who 
will intercede for me. 

Mask. Someone who shall speak to your father in your 
favour? .... Why, Herr Stiletti. 

Lelio. Are you mad? 

Mask. Or ... . Frau Lelane. 

Lelio. Villain ! 

Mask. One of her nieces. 

Lelio. I will break your head ! 

Mask. Yes, that would be a great pleasure for your 
father to find a murderer in his son. 

Lelio. I dare not apply to old Philto. I have despised 
his instruction, his warnings, his advice too often to be 
able to lay any claim now to his good offices. 

Mask. But does it not occur to you to ask me ? 

Lelio. You will have to seek an intercessor for your- 
self. 

Mask. I have done that already, and you are the man. 
Lelio. I ? 

Mask. You ! And out of gratitude to me, for providing 
you with an advocate such as you might sc ek for ever in vain. 
Lelio. If you do that, Maskarill 



326 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Scene XVL 



Mask. J ust come aside ; the old folks might come out 
again. 

Lelio. But name the intercessor, than whom I might 
for ever seek in vain for a better. 

Mask. Why, your father shall be your intercessor with 
Herr Anselmus. 

Lelio. What do you mean? 

Mask. I mean that I have a plan which I cannot here 
explain to you. Come! (Exeunt.) 

Scene XY. — Anselmus, Philto (coming out of the house). 

Ansel. Well, that is true, Philto. A more trusty and 
prudent friend than yourself could not be found in 
the world. I thank you a thousand times, and only wish 
I could repay your services. 

Phil. They are sufficiently repaid if they have your 
approval. 

Ansel. I am aware that you must have suffered much 
calumny on my account. 

Phil. What do calumnies matter, when one feels con- 
vinced one has not deserved them ! I hope also you approve 
of the trick which I intended to make use of, with regard 
to the dowry ? 

Ansel. It was capitally planned ; I am only sorry 
nothing can come of the affair. 

Phil. Nothing come of it ! Why not ? Ah ! it is well 
you come, Herr Staleno. 

Scene XYI. — Staleno, Anselmus, Philto. 

Stal. Is it indeed true that Anselmus has returned 
at length ? Welcome ! welcome ! 

Anskl. I am glad to see a good old friend again in 
health. But I am not glad that the first thing which 
I must say to him should be a refusal of his proposal. 
Philto has told me of your ward's wishes with respect 
to my daughter. Without knowing him I should say 
"yes" to it, merely out of regard for you, if I had not 
already promised ray daughter to the son of an old friend 
who died abroad some short time back. I gave him my 



Scene XVII.] 



THE TREASURE. 



327 



word, upon his death-bed, that I would make his son, 
who lives here somewhere, mine also. He has even left 
his request in writing, and it must be one of my first acts 
to find out young Leander, and give him this intelli- 
gence. 

Stal. Who ? young Leander ? Ah ! that is my ward. 
Ansel. Leander your ward ? Old Pandolfo's son ? 
Stal. Leander, old Pandolfo's son, is my ward. 
Ansel. And this Leander was to marry my daughter ? 
Phil. The same. 

Ansel. What good luck ! Could I have wished it 
better ? Now then, I confirm the promise Philto made you 
in my name. Come, let me see your ward, and embrace 
my dear daughter. Ah! if I had not such a dissolute 
son, what an enviable man I should be ! 

Scene XVII. — Maskarill, Anselmus, Philto, Staleno. 

Mask. Oh ! ill luck ! unexpressible ill luck ! Where 
shall I find poor Anselmus ? 

Ansel. Is not that Maskarill ? What says the rascal ? 

Mask. Oh ! unhappy father, what will you say to this 
news? 

Ansel. To what news ? 

Mask. Ah ! ill-fated Lelio ! 

Ansel. Well, what has happened to him ? 

Mask. Ah ! miserable accident ! 

Ansel. Maskarill ! 

Mask. Ah ! tragic occurrence ! 

Ansel. Tragic? Torture me no longer, fellow, but 
tell me what is the matter. 

Mask. Ah ! Herr Anselmus, your son 

Ansel. Well ? my son ! 

Mask. When I went to announce your happy arrival, 
I found him supported on his arm in an arm-chair 

Ansel. At the last gasp, perhaps ? 

Mask. Gasping he was, for he had just finished a long 
draught of Hungarian wine. " Eejoice, Herr Lelio," said 
I, '* your dear, and anxiously longed-for father has just 
returned." " What, my father ?" — Here the bottle fell 
from his hand through alarm ; it broke in pieces, and the 




328 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Scene XVIII. 

costly contents flowed upon the dusty floor. — " What," he 
exclaimed again, " my father returned ! What will be- 
come of me now ?" " What you have deserved ?" said I. 
He sprang on his feet, ran to the window that looks 

over the river, tore it open 

Ansel. And threw himself out ? 

Mask. And looked what sort of a day it was. " Quick, 
my sword !" — I did not wish to give him his sword, be- 
cause one has examples that much evil has been done with 
a sword. " What do you want with your sword, Herr 

Lelio ?" " Detain me not, or " He spake the " or " 

with such a terrific tone of voice, that I gave him the 
sword out of fear. He took it, and 

Ansel. And turned it against himself? 

Mask. And 

Ansel. Ah ! unhappy father that I am ! 

Scene XVIII. — Lelio (at the back of the stage), the rest 
as before. 

Mask. And buckled it on. " Come, Maskarill," he 
cried, " my father will be enraged against me, and his 
anger is not to be supported. I will not live longer with- 
out being reconciled to him." He rushed down the stair- 
case, dashed helter-skelter out of the house, and threw 
himself not far from here (whilst Maskarill speaks, and 
Anselmus is turned towards him, Lelio falls at his feet on the 
other side) — at his father's feet. 

Lelio. Forgive me, dearest father, for trying by such 
means whether your heart can still feel any compassion 
towards me. The most dreadful fate which you feared 
on my account will surely happen to me, if I must rise 
from your feet without obtaining your forgiveness. I 
acknowledge that I am not worthy of your affection, but 
without it I will not live. Youth and inexperience may 
excuse much. 

Phil. Allow yourself to be moved, Anselmus. 

Stal. I also petition for him. He will reform. 

Ansel. Could I but think so. Eise, I will give you 
another trial. If, however, you hereafter commit an 
unworthy action, consider that I have forgiven you no- 



Scene XVIII.] 



THE TREASURE. 



329 



thing ; the least excess of which you may be guilty, will 
bring certain punishment for all the rest with it. 
Mask. That is just. 

Ansel. You must forthwith send that worthless Mas- 
karill packing. 

Mask. That is unjust ! . . . . However, send me away or 
keep me, it is all one ; only pay me first the money which 
I have already lent you for seven years, and which I 
generously offered to lend you for ten more. 



MINNA VON BARNHELM; 

OR, 

THE SOLDIER'S FORTUNE. 
(A COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS.) 



Minna von Barnhelm, on which Lessing had been working for sorre 
time, was completed during his fourth residence in Berlin, in the year 
1765. It was first acted in Hamburg in 1767, but met with little 
success. In the following year, however, when acted in Berlin, it im- 
mediately became very popular. In 1789 it was produced at the 
Haymarket Theatre, under the title of 1 The Disbanded Officer,' 



DRAMATIS PERSONS 



Major von Tellheim, a discharged officer. 

Minna von Barnhelm. 

Count von Bruchsal, her uncle. 

Franziska, her lady's maid. 

Just, servant to the Major. 

Paul Werner, An old Sergeant of the Major's. 

The Landlord of an Inn. 

A Lady. 

An Orderly. 

RlCCAUT DE LA MARLINIERE. 

The scene alternates between the Parlour of an Inn, and a 
Boom adjoining it. 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



ACT I. 

Scene I. — Just. 

Just, (sitting in a corner, and talking while asleep). 
Rogue of a landlord ! Ton treat us so ? On, comrade ! 
hit hard ! (He strikes ivith Ms fist, and wakes through the 
exertion.) Ha ! there he is again ! I cannot shut an eye 
without fighting with him. I wish he got but half the 
blows. Why, it is morning ! I must just look for my 
poor master at once ; if I can help it, he shall not set foot 
in the cursed house again. I wonder where he has passed 
the night ? 

Scene II. — Landlord, Just. 

Land. Good-morning, Herr Just; good-morning! 
What, up so early ! Or shall I say — up so late ? 
Just. Say which you please. 

Land. I say only — good-morning ! and that deserves, I 
suppose, that Herr Just should answer " Many thanks." 
Just. Many thanks. 

Land. One is peevish, if one can't have one's proper 
rest. What will you bet the Major has not returned 
home, and you have been keeping watch for him ? 

Just. How the man can guess everything ! 

Land. I surmise, I surmise. 

Just, (turns round to go). Your servant ! 

Land, (stops him). Not so, Herr Just ! 

Just. Very well, then, not your servant ! 

Land. What, Herr Just, I do hope you are not still 



334 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act 1 



angry about yesterday's affair! Who would keep his 
anger over night ? 

Just. I ; and over a good many nights. 

Land. Is that like a Christian ? 

Just. As much so as to turn an honourable man who 
cannot pay to a day, out of doors, into the street. 

Land. Fie ! who would be so wicked ? 

Just. A Christian innkeeper. — My master! such a 
man ! such an officer ! 

Land. I thrust him from the house into the streets? 
I have far too much respect for an officer to do that, and 
far too much pity for a discharged one ! I was obliged to 
have another room prepared for him. Think no more 
about it, Herr Just. (Calls) — Hullo ! I will make it 
good in another way. (A lad comes.) Bring a glass ; 
Herr Just will have a drop ; something good. 

Just. Do not trouble yourself, Mr. Landlord. May 
the drop turn to poison, which .... But I will not swear ; 
I have not yet breakfasted. 

Land, (to the lad, who brings a bottle of spirits and a 
glass). Give it here; go! "Now, Herr Just; something 
quite excellent ; strong, delicious, and wholesome. (Fills, 
and holds it out to him.) That can set an over- taxed stomach 
to rights again ! 

Just. I hardly ought ! — And yet why should I let my 
health suffer on account of his incivility ? (Takes it, and 
drinks.) 

Land. May it do you good, Herr Just ! 

Just, (giving the glass back). Not bad ! But, Land- 
lord, you are nevertheless an ill-mannered brute ! 

Land. Not so, not so ! .... Come, another glass ; one 
cannot stand upon one leg. 

Just, (after drinking). I must say so much — it is 
good, very good ! Made at home, Landlord ? 

Land. At home, indeed ! True Dantzig, real double 
distilled ! 

Just. Look ye, Landlord ; if I could play the hypocrite, 
I would do so for such stuff as that ; but I cannot, so it 
must out. — You are an ill-mannered brute all the same. 

Land. Nobody in my life ever told me that before 

But another glass, Herr Just ; three is the lucky number ! 



Scene II.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



335 



Just. With all my heart! — (Drinks.) Good stuff' 
indeed, capital ! But truth is good also, and indeed, 
Landlord, you are an ill-mannered brute all the same ! 

Land. If I was, do you think I should let you say so ? 

Just. Oh ! yes ; a brute seldom has spirit. 

Land. One more, Herr Just : a four stranded rope is 
the strongest. 

Just. No, enough is as good as a feast ! And what 
good will it do you, Landlord ? I shall stick to my text 
till the last drop in the bottle. Shame, Landlord, to have 
such good Dantzig, and such bad manners ! To turn out 
of his room, in his absence — a man like my master, who 
has lodged at your house above a year ; from whom you 
have had already so' many shining thalers; who never 
owed a hell er in his life — because he let payment run for 
a couple of months, and because he does not spend quite so 
much as he used. 

Land. But suppose I really wanted the room and saw 
beforehand that the Major would willingly have given it 
up if we could only have waited some time for his return ! 
Should I let strange gentlefolk like them drive away 
again from my door ? Should I wilfully send such a prize 
into the clutches of another innkeeper ? Besides, I don't 
believe they could have got a lodging elsewhere. The 
inns are all now quite full. Could such a young, beau- 
tiful, amiable lady remain in the street ? Your master is 
much too gallant for that. And what does he lose by the 
change ? Have not I given him another room ? 

Just. By the pigeon-house, at the back, with a view 
between a neighbour's chimneys. 

Land. The view was uncommonly fine, before the con- 
founded neighbour obstructed it. The room is otherwise 
very nice, and is papered 

Just. Has been ! 

Land. No, one side is so still. And the little room 
adjoining, what is the matter with that ? It has a 
chimney which, perhaps, smokes somewhat in the 
winter 

Just. But does very nicely in the summer. I believe, 
Landlord, you are mocking us into the bargain ! 
Land. Come, come ; Herr Just, Herr Just 



336 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act I. 



Just. Don't make Herr Just's head hot 

Land. I make his head hot ? It is the Dantzig does 
that. 

Just. An officer, like my master ! Or do you think 
that a discharged officer is not an officer, who may break 
your neck for you ? Why were you all, you Landlords, 
so civil during the war ? Why was every officer an 
honourable man then, and every soldier a worthy, brave 
fellow ? Does this bit of a peace make you so bumptious ? 

Land. What makes you fly out so, Herr Just ! 

Just. I will fly out. 

Scene III. — Major von Tellheim, Landlord, Just. 
Ma j. T. {entering). Just ! 

Just, (supposing the Landlord is still speaking). Just? 
Are we so intimate ? 
Maj. T. Just ! 

Just. I thought I was " Herr Just " with you. 

Land, (seeing the Major). Hist ! hist ! Herr Just, 
Herr Just, look round ; your master 

Maj. T. Just, I think you are quarrelling ! What did 
I tell you? 

Land. Quarrel, your honour ? God forbid ! Would 
your most humble servant dare to quarrel with one who 
has the honour of being in your service ? 

Just. If I could but give him a good whack on that 
cringing cat's back of his ! 

Land. It is true Herr Just speaks up for his master, 
and rather warmly ; but in that he is right. I esteem him 
so much the more : I like him for it. 

Just. I should like to knock his teeth out for him ! 

Land. It is only a pity that he puts himself in a 
passion for nothing. For I feel quite sure that your 
honour is not displeased with me in this matter, since — 
necessity — made it necessary 

Maj. T. More than enough, sir ! I am in your debt ; 
you turn out my room in my absence. You must be paid, 
I must seek a lodging elsewhere. Very natural. 

Land. Elsewhere? You are going to quit, honoured 
sir ? Oh unfortunate stricken man that I am. No, never ! 



Scene IV.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



337 



Sooner shall the lady give up the apartments again. The 
Major cannot and will not let her have his room. It is 
his ; she must go ; I cannot help it. I will go, honoured 
sir 

Maj. T. My friend, do not make two foolish strokes 
instead of one. The lady must retain possession of the 
room 

Land. And your honour could suppose that from dis- 
trust, from fear of not being paid, I .... As if I did not 
know that your honour could pay me as soon as you pleased. 
The sealed purse .... five hundred thalers in louis d'ors 
marked on it — which your honour had in your writing-desk 
.... is in good keeping. 

Maj. T. I trust so ; as the rest of my property. Just 
shall take them into his keeping, when he has paid your 



Land. Eeally, I was quite alarmed when I found the 
purse. I always considered your honour a methodical 
and prudent man, who never got quite out of money .... 
but still, had I supposed there was ready money in the 
desk • 

Maj. T. You would have treated me rather more 
civilly. I understand you. Go, sir ; leave me. I wish 
to speak with my servant. 

Land. But, honoured sir 

Maj. T. Come, Just ; he does not wish to permit me 
give my orders to you in his house. 
Land. I am going, honoured sir ! My whole house is 
at your service. (Exit.) 



Scene IV. — Major von Tellheim, Just. 

Just, (stamping with his foot and spitting after the Land- 
lord). Ugh ! 

Maj. T. What is the matter? 

Just. I am choking with rage. 

Maj. T. That is as bad as from plethora. 

Just. And for you, sir, I hardly know yon any longer. 
May I die before your eyes, if you do not encourage 
this malicious, unfeeling wretch. In spite of gallows, 

VOL. II. z 



338 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act L 



axe, and torture T could .... yes, I could have throttled 
him with these hands, and torn him to pieces with these 
teeth ! 

Maj. T. You wild beast ! 
Just. Better a wild beast than such a man ! 
Maj. T. But what is it that you want? 
Just. I want you to perceive how much he insults 
you. 

Maj. T. And then 

Just. To take your revenge No, the fellow is 

beneath your notice ! 

Maj. T. But to commission you to avenge me? That 
was my intention from the first. He should not have 
seen me again, but have received the amount of his bill 
from your hands. I know that you can throw down a 
handful of money with a tolerably contemptuous mien. 

Just. Oh ! a pretty sort of revenge ! 

Maj. T. Which, however, we must defer. I have not 
one heller of ready money, and I know not where to 
raise any. 

Just. No money ! What is that purse then with five 
hundred dollars' worth of louis d'ors, which the Landlord 
found in your desk ? 

Maj. T. That is money given into my charge. 

Just. Not the hundred pistoles which your old sergeant 
brought you four or five weeks back ? 

Maj. T. The same. Paul Werner's ; right. 

Just. And you have not used them yet? Yet, sir, 
you may do what you please with them. I will answer 
for it that 

Maj. T. Indeed! 

Just. Werner heard from me, how they had treated 
your claims upon the War Office. He heard 

Maj. T. That I should certainly be a beggar soon, if 
I was not one already. I am much obliged to you, Just. 
And the news induced Werner to offer to share his little 
all with me. I am very glad that I guessed this. Listen, 
Just ; let me have your account, directly too ; we must part. 

Just. How ! what ! 

Maj. T. Not a word. There is someone coming. 



Scene VI.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



339 



Scene V. — Lady in mourning, Major von Tellheim, Just. 

Lady. I ask your pardon, sir. 

Maj, T. Whom do you seek, Madam ? 

Lady. The worthy gentleman with whom I have the 
honour of speaking. You do not know me again. I am the 
widow of your late captain. 

Maj. T. Good heavens, Madam, how you are changed ! 

Lady. I have just risen from a sick bed, to which 
grief on the loss of my husband brought me. I am 
troubling you at a very early hour, Major von Tellheim, 
but I am going into the country, where a kind, but also un- 
fortunate friend, has for the present offered me an asylum. 

Maj. T. {to Just). Leave us. 

Scene VI. — Lady, Major von Tellheim. 

Maj. T. Speak freely, Madam! You must not be 
ashamed of your bad fortune before me. Can I serve you 
in any way ? 

Lady. Major 

Maj. T. I pity you, Madam ! How can I serve you ? 
You know your husband was my friend ; my friend, I say, 
and I have always been sparing of this title. 

Lady. Who knows better than I do how worthy you 
were of his friendship — how worthy he was of yours? 
You would have been in his last thoughts, your name 
would have been the last sound on his dying lips, had 
not natural affection, stronger than friendship, demanded 
this sad prerogative for his unfortunate son, and his un- 
happy wife. 

Maj. T. Cease, Madam ! I could willingly weep with 
you ; but I have no tears to-day. Spare me ! You come 
to me at a time when I might easily be misled to murmur 
against Providence. Oh ! honest Marloff ! Quick, Madam, 
what have you to request ? If it is in my power to assist 
you, if it is in my power 

Lady. I cannot depart without fulfilling his last wishes. 
He recollected, shortly before his death, that he was dying 
a debtor to you, and he conjured me to discharge his debt 

z 2 



340 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act L 



with the first ready money I should have. I have sold his 
carriage, and come to redeem his note. 

Maj. T. What, Madam ! Is that your object in 

coming ? 

Lady. It is. Permit me to count out the money to 
you. 

Maj. T. No, Madam. Marloff a debtor to me ! that 
can hardly be. Let us look, however. {Takes out a pocket- 
book, and searches.) I find nothing of the kind. 

Lady. You have doubtless mislaid his note ; besides, it 
is nothing to the purpose. Permit me 

Maj. T. No, Madam ; I am careful not to mislay such 
documents. If I have not got it, it is a proof that I never 
had it, or that it has been honoured and already returned 
by me. 

Lady. Majcr ! 

Maj. T. Without doubt, Madam ; Marloff does not owe 
me anything — nor can I remember that he ever did owe me 
anything. This is so, Madam. Be has much rather left 
me in his debt. I have never been able to do anything 
to repay a man who shared with me good and ill luck, 
honour and danger, for six years. I shall not forget 
that he has left a son. He shall be my son, as soon as I 
can be a father to him. The embarrassment in which 
I am at present 

Lady. Generous man ! But do not think so meanly of 
me. Take the money, Major, and then at least I shall be 
at ease. 

Maj. T. What more do you require to tranquillize you, 
than my assurance that the money does not belong to 
me ? Or do you wish that I should rob the young orphan 
©f my friend ? Eob, Madam ; for that it would be in the 
true meaning of the word. The money belongs to him : 
invest it for him. 

Lady. I understand you ; pardon me if I do not yet 
rightly know how to accept a kindness. Where have 
you learnt that a mother will do more for her child than 
for the preservation of her own life ? I am going 

Maj. T. Go, Madam, and may you have a prosperous 
journey ! I do not ask you to let me hear from you. Your 
news might come to me when it might be of little use to 



Scene VIII] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



341 



me. There is yet one thing, Madam ; I had nearly for- 
gotten that which is of most consequence. Marloff also had 
claims upon the chest of our old regiment. His claims 
are as good as mine. If my demands are paid, his must 
be paid also. I will be answerable for them. 

Lady. Oh ! Sir .... but what can I say ? Thus to pur- 
pose future good deeds is, in the eyes of heaven, to have 
performed them already. May you receive its reward, as 
well as my tears. (Exit.) 

Scene VII. — Major von Tellheim. 

Maj. T. Poor, good woman ! I must not forget to 
destroy the bill. {Takes some papers from Ms pocketbook 
and destroys them). Who would guarantee that my own 
wants might not some day tempt me to make use of it ? 

Scene YIII. — Just, Major von Tellheim. 

Maj. T. Is that you, Just ? 
Just, (wiping his eyes). Yes. 
Maj. T. You have been crying? 

Just. I have been writing out my account in the 
kitchen, and the place is full oi smoke. Here it is, sir. 
Maj. T. Give it to me. 

Just. Be merciful with me, sir. I know well that 

they have not been so with you ; still 

Maj. T. What do you want ? 

Just. I should sooner have expected my death, than 
my discharge. 

Maj. T. I cannot keep you any longer : I must learn 
to manage without servants. (Opens the paper, and reads). 
" What my master, the Major, owes me : — Three months 
and a half wages, six thalers per month, is 21 thalers. 
During the first part of this month, laid out in sundries — 
1 thaler 7 groschen 9 pfennigs. Total, 22 thalers 7gr. 
9pf." Right ; and it is just that I also pay your wages, for 
the whole of the current month. 

Just. Turn over, sir. 

Maj. T. Oh! more? (Reads.) "What I owe my 
master, the Major: — Paid for me to the army-surgeon, 



342 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act L 



twenty-five thalers. Attendance and nurse during my 
cure, paid for me, thirty-nine thalers. Advanced, at my 
request, to my father — who was burnt out of his house 
and robbed — without reckoning the two horses of which 
he made him a present, fifty thalers. Total 114 thalers. 
Deduct the above 22 thalers, 7gr. 9pf. ; I remain in 
debt to my master, the Major, 91 thalers, 16gr. 3pf." You 
are mad, my good fellow ! 

Just. I willingly grant that I owe you much more ; 
but it would be wasting ink to write it down. I cannot 
pay you that : and if you take my livery from me too, 
which, by the way, I have not yet earned, — I would rather 
you had let me die in the workhouse. 

Maj. T. For what do you take me ? You owe me no- 
thing ; and I will recommend you to one of my friends, 
with whom you will fare better than with me. 

Just. I do not owe you anything, and yet you turn me 
away ! 

Maj. T. Because I do not wish to owe you anything. 

Just. On that account? Only on that account? As 
certain as I am in your debt, as certain as you can never 
be in mine, so certainly shall you not turn me away now. 
Do what you will, Major, I remain in your service; I 
must remain. 

Maj. T. With your obstinacy, your insolence, your 
savage boisterous temper towards all who you think have 
no business to speak to you, your malicious pranks, your 
love of revenge, 

J ust. Make me as bad as you will, I shall not think 
worse of myself than of my dog. Last winter I was walk- 
ing one evening at dusk along the river, when \ heard 
something whine. I stooped down, and reached in the 
direction whence the sound came, and when I thought I was 
saving a child, I pulled a dog out of the water. That is 
well, thought I. The dog followed me ; but I am not 
fond of dogs, so I drove him away —in vain. I whipped 
him away — in vain. I shut him out of my room at night ; 
he lay down before the door. If he came too near me, I 
kicked him ; he yelped, looked up at me, and wagged his 
tail. I have never yet given him a bit of bread with my 
own hand ; and yet I am the only person whom he will 



Scene IX.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



343 



obey, or who dare touch him. He jumps about me, and 
shows off his tricks to me, without my asking for them. 
He is an ugly dog, but he is a good animal. If he carries 
it on much longer, I shall at last give over hating him. 

Maj. T. (aside). As I do him. No, there is no one 
perfectly inhuman. Just, we will not part. 

Just. Certainly not ! And you wanted to manage with- 
out servants ! You forget your wounds, and that you only 
have the use of one arm. Why, you are not able to dress 
alone. I am indispensable to you ; and I am — without 
boasting, Major, — I am a servant who, if the worst comes 
to the worst, can beg and steal for his master. 

Maj. T. Just, we will part. 

Just. All right, Sir ! 

Scene IX. — Servant, Major von Tellheim, Just. 

Ser. I say, comrade ! 
Just. What is the matter ? 

Ser. Can you direct me to the officer who lodged 
yesterday in that room ? (pointing to the one out of which 
he is coming). 

Just. That I could easily do. What have you got for 
him ? 

Ser. What we always have, when we have nothing — 
compliments. My mistress hears that he has been turned 
out on her account. My mistress knows good manners, 
and I am therefore to beg his pardon. 

Jusr. Well, then, beg his pardon ; there he stands. 

Ser. What is he ? What is his name ? 

Maj. T. I have already heard your message, my friend. 
It is unnecessary politeness on the part of your mistress, 
which I beg to acknowledge duly. Present my compli- 
ments to her. What is the name of your mistress ? 

Ser. Her name ! We call her my lady. 

Maj. T. The name of her family ? 

Ser. I have not heard that yet, and it is not my 
business to ask. I manage so that I generally get a new 
master every six weeks. Hang all their names ! 

Just. Bravo, comrade ! 

Ser. I was engaged by my present mistress a few 




344 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act L 

days ago, in Dresden. I believe she has come here to look 
for her lover. 

Maj. T. Enough, friend. I wished to know the name 
of your mistress, not her secrets. Go ! 

Ser. Comrade, he would not do for my master. 

Scene X. — Major von Tellhedi, Just. 

Maj . T. Just ! see that we get out of this house directly ! 
The politeness of this strange lady affects me more than 
the churlishness of the host. Here, take this ring — the only 
thing of value which I have left — of which I never thought 
of making such a use. Pawn it ! get eighty louis d'ors 
for it : our host's bill can scarcely amount to thirty. Pay 

him, and remove my things Ah, where ? Where you 

will. The cheaper the inn, the better. You will find me 
in the neighbouring coffee-house. I am going ; you will 
see to it all properly ? 

Just. Have no fear, Major ! 

Maj. T. (comes back). Above all things, do not let my 
pistols be forgotten, which hang beside the bed. 
Just. I will forget nothing. 

Maj. T. (comes back again). Another thing : bring your 
dog with you too. Do you hear, Just ? 

Scene XI. — Just. 

Just. The dog will not stay behind, he will take care 
of that. Hem ! My master still had this valuable ring ! 
and carried it in his pocket instead of on his finger ! My 
good landlord, we are not yet so poor as we look. To 
him himself, I will pawn you, you beautiful little ring ! 
I know he will be annoyed that you will not all be con- 
sumed in his house. Ah ! 

Scene XII. — Paul Werner, Just. 

Just. Hullo, Werner! good-day to you, Werner. 
Welcome to the town. 

Wer. The accursed village! I can't manage to get 



Scene XII.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



345 



at home in it again. Merry, my boys, merry ; I have got 
some more money ! Where is the Major ? 

Just. He must have met you ; he just went down stairs. 

Wer. I came up the back stairs. How is he ? I should 
have been with you last week, but • 

Just. Well, what prevented you ? 

Wer. Just, did you ever hear of Prince Heraclius ? 

Just. Heraclius ? Not that I know of. 

Wer. Don't you know the great hero of the East ? 

Just. I know the wise men of the East well enough, 
who go about with the stars on New Year's Eve.* 

Wer. Brother, I believe you read the newspapers as 
little as the Bible. You do not know Prince Heraclius ? 
Not know the brave man who seized Persia, and will 
break into the Ottoman Porte in a few days? Thank 
God, there is still war somewhere in the world ! I 
have long enough hoped it would break out here again. 
But there they sit and take care of their skins. No, a 
soldier I was, and a soldier I must be again ! In short 
(looking round carefully, to see if anyone is listening'), between 
ourselves, Just, I am going to Persia, to have a few cam- 
paigns against the Turks, under his Koyal Highness 
Prince Heraclius. 

Just. You ? 

Wer. I myself. Our ancestors fought bravely against 
the Turks ; and so ought we too, if we would be honest 
men and good Christians. I allow that a campaign against 
the Turks cannot be half so pleasant as one against the 
French ; but then it must be so much the more beneficial 
in this world and the next. The swords of the Turks are 
all set with diamonds. 

Just. I would not walk a mile to have my head split 
with one of their sabres. You will not be so mad as to 
leave your comfortable little farm ! 

Wer. Oh ! I take that with me. Do you see ? The 
property is sold. 

Just. Sold ? 

Wer. Hist ! Here are a hundred ducats, which I 
received yesterday towards the payment : I am bringing 
them for the Major. 

* This refers to an old German custom. 



346 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC ^YORKS. 



[Act L 



Just. What is he to do with them ? 

Wer. What is he to do with them ? Spend them ; play 
them, or drink them away, or whatever he pleases. He 
must have money, and it is bad enough that they have 
made his own so troublesome to him. But 1 know what I 
would do, were I in his place. I would say — " The deuce 
take you all here ; I will go with Paul Werner to Persia !" 
Hang it ! Prince Heraclius must have heard of Major 
von Tellheim, if he has not heard of Paul W r erner, his late 
sergeant. Our affair at Katzenhnuser 

Jusr. Shall I give you an account of that ? 

Wer. You give me ! I know well that a fine battle 
array is beyond your comprehension. I am not going to 
throw my pearls before swine. Here, take the hundred 
ducats ; give them to the Major : tell him, he may keep 
these for me too. I am going to the market now. I 
have sent in a couple of loads of rye ; what I get for them 
he can also have. 

Just. Werner, you mean it well ; but we don't want 
your money. Keep your ducats ; and your hundred 
pistoles you can also have back safe, as soon as you please. 

Wer. What, has the Major money still ? 

Just. No. 

Wer. Has he borrowed any ? 
J ust. No. 

Wer. On what does he live, then ? 

Just. We have everything put down in the bill ; and 
when they won't put anything more down, and turn us out 
of the house, we pledge anything we may happen to have, 
and go somewhere else. I say, Paul, we must play this 
landlord here a trick. 

Wer. If he has annoyed the Major, I am ready. 

Just. What if we watch for him in the evening, when 
he comes from his club, and give him a good thrashing ? 

Wer. In the dark ! Watch for him ! Two to one ! 
No, that won't do. 

Just. Or if we burn his house over his head ? 

Wer. Fire and burn ! Why, Just, one hears that you 
have been baggage-boy and not soldier. Shame ! 

Just. Or if we ruin his daughter ? But she is cursedly 

ugly. 



Act II.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



347 



Wer. She has probably been ruined long ago. At any 
rate you don't want any help there. But what is the 
matter with you ? What has happened ? 

Just. Just come with me, and you shall hear something 
to make you stare. 

Wer. The devil must be loose here, then ? 

Just. Just so ; come along. 

Wer. So much the better ! To Persia, then ; to Persia. 



ACT II. 

Scene I. — Minna's Boom. M nna, Franztska. 

Min. (in morning dress, looking at her icatch). Fran- 
ziska, we have risen very early. The time will hang 
heavy on our hands. 

Fran. Who can sleep in these abominable large towns ? 
The carriages, the watchmen, the drums, the cats, the 
soldiers, never cease to rattle, to call, to roll, to mew, and 
to swear ; just as if the last thing the night is intended 
for was for sleep. Have a cup of tea, my lady ! 

Min. I don't care for tea. 

Fran. I will have some chocolate made. 

Min. For yourself, if you like. 

Fran. For myself! I would as soon talk to myself 
as drink by myself. Then the time will indeed hang 
heavy. For very weariness we shall have to make our 
toilets, and try on the dress in which we intend to make 
the first attack ? 

Min. Why do you talk of attacks, when I have only 
come to require that the capitulation be ratified. 

Fran. But the officer whom we have dislodged, and to 
whom we have apologized, cannot be the best bred man in 
the world, or he might at least have begged the honour of 
being allowed to wait upon you. 

Min. All officers are not Tellheims. To tell you the 
truth, I only sent him the message in order to have an 
opportunity of inquiring from him about Tellheim. 



348 



lessing's deamatic works. 



[Act IL 



Franziska, my heart tells me my journey will be a 
successful one and that I shall find him. 

Fran. The heart, my lady! One must not trust to 
that too much. The heart echoes to us the words of our 
tongues. If the tongue was as much inclined to speak 
the thoughts of the heart, the fashion of keeping mouths 
under lock and key would have come in long ago. 

Min. Ha ! ha ! mouths under lock and key. That 
fashion would just suit me. 

Fran. Rather not show the most beautiful set of teeth, 
than let the heart be seen through them every moment. 

Min. What, are you so reserved ? 

Fran. No, my lady ; but I would willingly be more so. 
People seldom talk of the virtue they possess, and all the 
more often of that which they do not possess. 

Min. Franziska, you made a very just remark there. 

Fran. Made ! Does one make it, if it occurs to one ? 

Min. And do you know why I consider it so good ? It 
applies to my Tellheim, 

Fran. What would not, in your opinion, 2r>ply to him ? 

Min. Friend and foe say he is the bravest man in the 
world. But who ever heard him talk of bravery? He 
has the most upright mind ; but uprightness and noble- 
ness of mind are words never on his tongue. 

Fran. Of what virtues does he talk then ? 

Min. He talks of none, for he is wanting in none. 

Fran. That is just what I wished to hear. 

Min. Wait, Franziska ; I am wrong. He often talks 
of economy. Between ourselves, I believe he is extrava- 
gant. 

Fran. One thing more, my lady. I have often heard 
him mention truth and constancy towards you. What, if 
he be inconstant ? 

Min. Miserable girl ! But do you mean that 
seriously ? 

Fran. How long is it since he wrote to you ? 
Min. Alas ! he has only written to me once since the 
peace. 

Fran. What — A sigh on account of the peace ? Sur- 
prising ! Peace ought only to make good the ill which 
war causes ; but it seems to disturb the good which the 



£ ;ene II.] MINNA VON BAItNIIELM. 



349 



latter, its opposite, may have occasioned. Peace should 
not be so capricious !...-. How long have we had peace ? 
The time seems wonderfully long, when there is so little 
news. It is no use the post going regularly again ; no- 
body writes, for nobody has anything to write about. 

Min. "Peace has been made," he wrote to me, "and I 
am approaching the fulfilment of my wishes." But since 
he only wrote that to me once, only once 

Fran. And since he compels us to run after this fulfil- 
ment of his wishes ourselves If we can but find him, 

he shall pay for this ! Suppose, in the meantime, he 
may have accomplished his wishes, and we should learn 
here that 

Min. (anxiously). That he is dead ? 

Fran. To you, my lady ; and married to another: 

Min. You teaze, you ! Wait, Franziska, I will pay 
you out for this ! But talk to me, or I shall fall asleep. 
His regiment was disbanded after the peace. Who knows 
into what a confusion of bills and papers he may thereby 
have been brought ? Who knows into what other regi- 
ment, or to what distant station, he may have been sent ? 

Who knows what circumstances There's a knock at the 

door. 

Fran. Come in ! 

Scene II. — Landlord, Minna, Franziska. 

Land, (putting his head in at the door). Am I permitted, 
your ladyship ? 

Fean. Our landlord ? — Come in ! 

Land. (A pen behind his ear, a sheet of paper and an ink- 
stand in his hand). I am come, your ladyship, to wish you 
a most humble good-morning ; (to Franziska ) and the same 
to you, my pretty maid. 

Fran. A polite man ! 

Min. We are obliged to you. 

Frax. And wish you also a good-morning. 

Land. May I venture to ask how your ladyship has 
passed the first night under my poor roof? 

Fran. The roof is not so bad, sir ; but the beds might 
have been better. 



350 



lessing's dramahc works. 



[Act II. 



Land. "What do I hear ! Not slept well ! Perhaps the 

over-fatigue of the journey 

Min. Perhaps. 

Land. Certainly, certainly, for otherwise .... Yet, 
should there be anything not perfectly comfortable, 
my lady, I hope you will not fail to command me. 

Fran. Very well, Mr. Landlord, very well ! We are 
not bashful ; and least of all should one be bashful at an 
inn. We shall not fail to say what we may wish. 

Land. I next come to ... . (taking the pen from behind 
his ear). 

Fran. Well? 

Land. Without doubt, my lady, you are already ac- 
quainted with the wise regulations of our police. 
Min. Not in the least, sir. 

L.\nd. We landlords are instructed not to take in any 
stranger, of whatever rank or sex he may be, for four-and- 
twenty hours, without delivering, in writing, his name, 
place of abode, occupation, object of his journey, probable 
stay, and so on, to the proper authorities. 

Min. Very well. 

Land. Will your ladyship then be so good .... {going 
to the table, and making ready to write). 

Mix. Willingly. My name is 

Land. One minute ! (He writes) " Date, 22nd August, 
a.d., &c. ; arrived at the King of Spain hotel." JSow your 
name, my lady. 

Min. Fraulein von Barnhelm. 

Land, (writes). " Von Barnhelm." Coming from 
.... where, your laxtyship ? 

Min. From my estate in Saxony. 

Land, (ivrites). " Estate in Saxony." Saxony ! Indeed, 
indeed ! In Saxony, your ladyship ? Saxony ? 

Fran. Well, why not? I hope it is no sin in this 
country to come from Saxony ! 

Land. A sin ? Heaven forbid ! That would be quite 
a new sin ! From Saxony then ? Yes, yes, from Saxony, 
a delightful country, Saxony ! But if I am right, your 
ladyship, Saxony is not small, and has several — how shall 
I call them ? — districts, provinces. Our police are very 
particular, your ladyship. 



Scene II.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



351 



Mix. I understand. From my estate in Thuringia, 
then. 

Laxd. From Thuringia ! Yes, that is better, your 
ladyship ; that is more exact. ( Writes and reads) " Fraulein 
von Barnhelm, coming from her estate in Thuringia, 
together with her lady in waiting and two men servants." 

Frax. Lady in waiting ! That means me, I suppose ! 

Laxd. Yes, my pretty maid. 

Frax. Well, Mr. Landlord, instead of " lady in wait- 
ing," write " maid in waiting." You say, the police are 
very exact ; it might cause a misunderstanding, which 
might give me trouble some day when my banns are read 
out. For I really am still unmarried, and my name is 
Franziska, with the family name of Willig : Franziska 
Willig. I also come from Thuringia. My father was a 
miller, on one of my lady's estates. It is called Little 
Eammsdorf. My brother has the mill now. I was taken 
very early to the manor, and educated with my lady. We 
are of the same age — one-and-twenty next Candlemas. I 
learnt everything my lady learnt. I should like the 
police to have a full account of me. 

Laxd. Quite right, my pretty maid ; I will bear that 
in mind, in case of future inquiries. But now, your 
ladyship, your business here ? 

Mix. M y business here ? 

Laxd. Have you any business with His Majesty the 
King? 

Mix. Oh! no. 

Laxd. Or at our courts of justice ? 
Mix. No. 
Laxd. Or 

Mix. No, no. I have come here solely on account of 
my own private affairs. 

Laxd. Quite right, your ladyship ; but what are those 
private affairs ? 

Mix. They are .... Franziska, I think we are under- 
going an examination. 

Fran. Mr. Landlord, the police surely do not ask to 
know a young lady's secrets ! 

Laxd. Certainly, my pretty maid ; the police wish 
to know everything, and especially secrets. 



352 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II. 



Fran. What is to be done, my lady ? . . . . Well, listen, 
Mr. Lai ilorcl — but take care that it does not go beyond 
ourselves and the police. 

Min. What is the simpleton going to tell him ? 

Fran. We come to carry off an officer from the king. 

Land. How ? What ? My dear girl ! 

Fran. Or to let ourselves be carried off by the officer. 
It is all one. 

Min. Franziska, are you mad? The saucy girl is 
laughing at you. 

Land. I hope not ! With your humble servant 
indeed she may jest as much as she pleases ; but with 
the police 

Min. I tell you what; I do not understand how to 
act in this matter. Suppose you postpone the whole 
affair till my uncle's arrival. I told you yesterday why 
he did not come with me. He had an accident with his 
carriage ten miles from here, and did not wish that I 
should remain a night longer on the road, so I had to 
come on. I am sure he will not be more than four-and- 
twenty hours after us. 

Land. Very well, madam, we will wait for him. 

Min. He will be able to answer your questions better. 
He will know to whom, and to what extent, he must give 
an account of himself — what he must relate respecting 
his affairs, and what he may withhold. 

Land. So much the better ! Indeed one cannot expect 
a young girl (looking at Franziska in a marked manner) 
to treat a serious matter with serious people in a serious 
manner. 

Min. And his rooms are in readiness, I hope ? 

Land. Quite, your ladyship, quite ; except the one 

Fran. Out of which, I suppose, you will have to turn 
smie other honourable gentleman ! 

Land. The waiting maids of Saxony, your ladyship, 
seem to be very compassionate. 

Min. In truth, sir, that was not well done. You 
ought rather to have refused us. 

Land. Why so, your ladyship, why so ? 

Min. I understand that the officer who was driven out 
on our account 



Scene II.] MINNA VON BAKNHELM. 



353 



Land. Is only a discharged officer, your ladyship. 
Min. Well, what then ? 
Land. Who is almost done for. 

Min. So much the worse ! He is said to be a very 
deserving man. 

Land. But I tell you he is discharged. 

Min. The king cannot be acquainted with every 
deserving man. 

Land. Oh ! doubtless he knows them ; he knows them 
all. 

Mm. But he cannot reward them all. 

Land. They would have been rewarded if they had 
lived so as to deserve it. But they lived during the 
war as if it would last for ever ; as if the words " yours" 
and " mine " were done away with altogether. Now all 
the hotels and inns are full of them, and a landlord 
has to be on his guard with them. I have come off 
pretty well with this one. If he had no more monev, he 
had at any rate money's worth ; and I might indeed 
have let him remain quiet two or three months longer. 
However, it is better as it is. By-the-by, your ladyship, 
you understand about jewels, I suppose ? 

Min. Not particularly. 

Land. Of course your ladyship must. I must show 
you a ring, a valuable ring. I see you have a very beau- 
tiful one on your finger ; and the more I look at it, the 
more I am astonished at the resemblance it bears to mine. 
There ! just look, just look ! (talcing the ring from its case, 
and handing it to her.) What brilliancy ! The diamond in 
the middle alone weighs more than five carats. 

Min. (looking at it). Good heavens! What do I see? 
. This ring 

Land. Is honestly worth fifteen hundred thalers. 

Min. Franziska ! look ! 

Land. I did not hesitate for a moment to advance 
eighty pistoles on it. 

Min. Do not you recognise it, Franziska ? 

Fran. The same ! Where did you get that ring, Mr. 
Landlord ? 

Land. Come, my girl! you surely have no claim to it? 
Fran. We have no claim to this ring ! My mistress's 

VOL. II. 2 A 



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[Act II. 



monogram must be on it, on the inner side of the setting. 
Look at it, my lady. 

Mm. It is ! it is! How did you get this ring? 

Land. I ! In the most honourable way in the world. 
You do not wish to bring me into disgrace and trouble, 
your ladyship ! How do I know where the ring properly 
belongs ? During the war many a thing often changed 
masters, both with and without the knowledge of its 
owner. War was war. Other rings will have crossed the 
borders of Saxony. Give it me again, your ladyship; 
give it me again ! 

Fran. When you have said from whom you got it. 

Land. From a man whom I cannot think capable of 
such things ; in other respects a good man 

Min. From the best man under the sun, if you have it 
from its owner. Bring him here directly ! It is himself, 
or at any rate he must know him. 

Land. Who ? who, your ladyship ? 

Fran. Are you deaf? Our Major ! 

Land. Major ! Eight ! he is a Major, who had this 
room before you, and from whom I received it. 

Min. Major von Tellheim ! 

Land. Yes, Tellheim. Do you know him ? 

Min. Do I know him ! He is here ! Tellheim here ! 
He had this room ! He ! he pledged this ring with 
you ! What has brought him into this embarrassment ? 
Where is he ? Does he owe you anything ? Franziska, 
my desk here! Open it ! (Franziska puts it on the table 
and opens it). What does he owe you ? To whom else 
does he owe anything ? Bring me all his creditors ! Here 
is gold : here are notes. It is all his ! 

Land. What is this? 

Mix. Where is he? Where is he? 

Land. An hour ago he was here. 

Mix. Detested man! how could you act so rudely, so 
hardly, so cruelly towards him ? 

Land. Your ladyship must pardon 

Min. Quick ! Bring him to me. 

Land. His servant is perhaps still here. Does your 
ladyship wish that he should look for him ? 

Mix. Do I wish it? Begone, run. For this service 



Scene IV.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



355 



alone I will forget how badly you have behaved to 
him. 

Fran. Now then, quick, Mr. Landlord ! Be off ! fly ! 
fly ! (Pushes him out.) 

Scene III. — Minna, Franziska. 

Min. Now I have found him again, Franziska! Do 
you hear ? Now I have found him again ! I scarcely 
know where I am for joy ! Rejoice with me, Franziska. 
But why should you? And yet you shall; you must 
rejoice with me. Come, I will make you a present, that 
you may be able to rejoice with me. Say, Franziska, 
what shall I give you ? Which of my things would please 
you ? What would you like ? Take what you will ; only 
re j oice with me. I see you will take nothing. Stop ! 
(Thrusts her hand into the desk.) There, Franziska (gives 
her money), buy yourself what you like. Ask for more, 
if it be not sufficient; but rejoice with me you must. 
It is so melancholy to be happy alone. There, take it, 
then. 

Fran. It is stealing it from you, my lady. You are 
intoxicated, quite intoxicated with joy. 

Min. Girl, my intoxication is of a quarrelsome kind. 
Take it, or {forcing money into her hand) .... and if you 
thank me .... Stay, it is well that I think of it. (Takes 
more money from the desk.) Put that aside, Franziska, for 
the first poor wounded soldier who accosts us. 

Scene IY. — Landlord, Minna, Franziska. 

Min. Well, is he coming ? 

Land. The cross, unmannered fellow ! 

Min. Who ? 

Land. His servant. He refuses to go for him. 

Fran. Bring the rascal here, then. I know all the 
Major's servants. Which of them was it ? 

Min. Bring him here directly. When he sees us he 
will go fast enough. (Exit Landlord.) 



2 a 2 



356 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act II 



Scene V. — Minna, Franziska. 

Min. I cannot bear this delay. But, Franziska, how 
cold you are still ! Why will you not share my joy with me ? 

Frax. I would from my heart, if only 

Min. If only what? 

Fran. We have found him again. But how have we 
found him? From all we hear, it must go badly with 
him. He must be unfortunate. That distresses me. 

Min. Distresses you ! Let me embrace you for that, 
my dear playmate ! I shall never forget this of you. I 
am only in love, you are good. 

Scene VI. — Landlord, Just, and the above. 

Land. With great difficulty I have brought him. 
Frax. A strange face ! I do not know him. 
Min. Friend, do you live with Major von Tellheim? 
Just. Yes. 

Min. Where is your master ? 
Just. Not here. 
Min. But you could find him ? 
Just. Yes. 

Min. Will you fetch him quickly ? 
Just. No. 

Mix. You will be doing me a favour 
Just. Indeed ! 

Min. And your master a service. 

Just. Perhaps not. 

Min. Why do you suppose that? 

Jus r. You are the strange lady who sent your compli- 
ments to him this morning, I think ? 
Min. Yes. 

Just. Then I am right. 
Min. Does your master know my name ? 
Just. No ; but he likes over-civil ladies as little a& 
over-uncivil landlords. 

Land. That is meant for me, I suppose? 
Just. Yes. 

Land. Well, do not let the lady suffer for it then ; but 
bring him here directly. 

Min. (to Franziska.) Franziska, give him some- 
thing— — 



Scene VII] MINNA VON BAIiNHELM. 



357 



Fran, (trying to j>'»t some money into Just's hand). We 
do not require your services for nothing. 

Just. Nor I your money without services. 

Fran. One in return for the other. 

Just. I cannot. My master has ordered me to pack 
up. That I am now about, and I beg you not to hinder 
me further. When I have finished, I will take care to tell 
him that he may come here. He is close by, at the coffee- 
house ; and if he finds nothing better to do there, I suppose 
he will come. (Going.) 

Fran. Wait a moment ! My lady is the Major's .... 
sister. 

Min. Yes, yes, his sister. 

J ust. I know better ; the Major has not a sister. He 
has sent me twice in six months to his family in Courland. 
It is true there are different sorts of sisters 

Fran. Insolent ! 

Just. One must be so to get the people to let one alone. 
(Exit.) 

Fran. That is a rascal ! 

Land. So I said. But let him go ! I know now where 
his master is. I will fetch him instantly myself. I only 
beg your ladyship, most humbly, that you will make an 
excuse for me to the Major, that I have been so unfortunate 
as to offend a man of his merit against my will. 

Min. Pray go quickly. I will set all that right again. 
(Exit the Landlord.) Franziska, run after him, and tell 
him not to mention my name ! (Exit Franziska.) 

Scene VII. — Minna, and afterwards Franziska. 

Min. I have found him again ! — Am I alone ? — I will 
not be alone to no purpose. — (Clasping her hands.) Yet I 
am not alone ! (Looking upwards.) One single grateful 
thought towards heaven, is the most perfect prayer ! 
I have found him ! I have found him ! ( With outstretched 
arms.) I am joyful and happy ! What can please the 
Creator more than a joyful creature ! (Franziska returns.) 
Have you returned, Franziska ? You pity him ! I do not 
pity him. Misfortune too is useful. Perhaps heaven 
deprived him of everything — to give him all again, 
through me ! 



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[Act II. 



Fran. He may be here any moment. — You are still in 
your morning dress, my lady. Ought you not to dress 
yourself quickly ? 

Min. Not at all. He will now see me more frequently 
so, than dressed out. 

Fran. Oh ! you know, my lady, how you look best. 

Min. (after a pause). Truly, girl, you have hit it 
again. 

Fran. I think women who are beautiful, are most so 
when unadorned. 

Min. Must we then be beautiful? Perhaps it was 
necessary that we should think ourselves so. Enough for 
me, if only I am beautiful in his eyes. Franziska, if all 
women feel as I now feel, we are — strange things. Tender- 
hearted, yet proud ; virtuous, yet vain ; passionate, yet 
innocent. I dare say you do not understand me. I do not 
rightly understand myself. Joy turns my head. 

Fran. Compose yourself, my lady, I hear footsteps. 

Min. Compose myself! What! receive him com- 
posedly ? 

Scene VIII. — Major von Tellheim, Landlord, and the 

above. 

Mat. T. (walks in, and the moment he sees Minna rushes 
towards her). Ah ! my Minna ! 

Min. (springing towards him). Ah ! my Tellheim ! 

Maj. T. (starts suddenly, and draws bach). I beg your 
pardon, Fraulein von Barnhelm ; but to meet you here 

Min. Cannot surely be so very unexpected ! (Approach- 
ing him, whilst he draws back still more.) Am I to pardon 
you because I am still your Minna ? Heaven pardon you, 
that I am still Fraulein von Barnhelm ! 

Maj. T. Fraulein. . . . (Looks fixedly at the Landlord, 
and shrugs his shoulders.) 

Min. (sees the Landlord, and makes a sign to Franziska). 
Sir 

Maj. T. If we are not both mistaken 

Fran. Why, Landlord, whom have you brought us 
here ? Come, quick ! let us go and look for the right man. 
Land. Is he not the right one ? Surely ! 



Scene IX.] 



MINNA VON BAKNHELM. 



359 



Fran. Surely not ! Come, quick ! I have not yet 
wished your daughter good morning. 

Land. Oh ! you are very good (still does not stir). 

Fran, (takes hold of him). Come, and we will make the 
bill of fare. Let us see what we shall have. 

Land. You shall have first of all 

Fran. Stop, I say, stop ! If my mistress knows now 
what she is to have for dinner, it will be all over with 
her appetite. Come, we must talk that over in private. 
(Drags him off.) 

Scene IX. — Minna, Major von Tellheim. 

Min. Well, are we still both mistaken ? 

Ma J. T. Would to heaven it were so ! — But there is 
only one Minna, and you are that one. 

Min. What ceremony ! The world might hear what 
we have to say to one another. 

Maj. T. You here? What do you want here, Madam? 

Min. Nothing now (going to him with open arms). I 
have found all that I wanted. 

Maj. T. (draining hack). You seek a prosperous man, 
and one worthy of your love ; and you find — a wretched 
one. 

Min. Then do you love me no longer? Do you love 
another ? 

Maj. T. Ah ! he never loved you, who could love 
another afterwards. 

Min. You draw but one dagger from my breast ; for 
if I have lost your heart, what matters whether indiffer- 
ence or more powerful charms than mine have robbed 
me of it? You love me no longer; neither do you love 
another ? Wretched man indeed, if you love nothing ! 

Maj. T. Eight; the wretched must love nothing. He 
merits his misfortunes, if he cannot achieve this victory 
over himself — if he can allow the woman he loves to take 
part in his misfortune .... Oh ! how difficult is this victory ! 
.... Since, reason and necessity have commanded me to 
forget Minna von Barnhelm, what pains have I taken ! 
I was just beginning to hope that my trouble would not 
for ever be in vain — and you appear. 



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[Act II. 



Min. Do I understand you right? Stop, sir; let us 
see what we mean, before we make further mistakes. 
Will you answer me one question? 

Ma.j. T. Any one. 

Min. But will you answer me without shift or subter- 
fuge ? With nothing but a plain " Yes," or " No ?" 
Maj. T. I will— if I can. 

Min. You can. Well, notwithstanding the pains 
which you have taken to forget me, do you love me still, 
Tellheim ? 

Maj. T. Madam, that question 

Min. You have promised to answer Yes, or No. 

Maj. T. And added, If I can. 

Min. You can. You must know what passes in your 
heart. Do you love me still, Tellheim ? Yes, or No ? 

Maj. T. If my heart 

Min. Yes, or No ? 
Maj. T. Well, Yes ! 
Min. Yes? 

Maj. T. Yes, yes ! Yet 

Min. Patience ! You love me still ; that is enough for 
me. Into what a mood have we fallen ! an unpleasant, 
melancholy, infectious mood ! I assume my own again. 
Now, my dear unfortunate, you love me still, and have 
your Minna still, and are unhappy ? Hear what a con- 
ceited, foolish thing your Minna was — is. She allowed 
— allows herself, to imagine that she makes your whole 
happiness. Declare all your misery at once. She would 
like to try how far she can outweigh it. — Well ? 

Maj. T. Madam, I am not accustomed to complain. 

Min. Very well. I know nothing in a soldier, after 
boasting, that pleases me less than complaining. But 
there is a certain cold, careless way of speaking of bravery 
and misfortune 

Maj. T. Which at the bottom is still boasting and 
complaining. 

Min. You disputant ! You should not have called 
yourself unhappy at all then. You should have told 
the whole, or kept quiet. Reason and necessity com- 
manded you to forget me? 1 am a great stickler for 
reason ; I have a great respect for necessity. But let me 



Scene IX.] 



MINNA VON BAENHELM. 



361 



hear how reasonable this reason, and how necessary this 
necessity may be. 

Maj. T. Listen then, Madam. You call me Tellheim ; 
the name is correct. But you suppose I am that Tellheim 
whom you knew at home ; the prosperous man, full of 
just pretensions, with a thirst for glory; the master of 
all his faculties, both of body and mind ; before whom 
the lists of honour and prosperity stood open ; who, if he 
was not then worthy of your heart and your hand, dared 
to hope that he might daily become more nearly so. This 
Tellheim 1 am now, as little as I am my own father. 
They both have been. Now I am Tellheim the dis- 
charged, the suspected, the cripple, the beggar. To the 
former, Madam, you promised your hand ; do you wish 
to keep your word ? 

Min. That sounds very tragic Yet, Major Tell- 
heim, until I find the former one again — I am quite 
foolish about the Tellheims — the latter will have to help 
me in my dilemma. Your hand, dear beggar ! (taking his 
hand). 

Maj. T. (holding his hat before his face with the other 
hand, and turning away from her). This is too much ! . . . . 
What am I ? . . . . Let me go, Madam. Your kindness 
tortures me ! Let me go. 

Min. What is the matter ? Where would you go ? 

Maj. T. From you ! 

Mix. From me {drawing his hand to her heart)? 
Dreamer ! 

Maj. T. Despair will lay me dead at your feet. 
Min. From me ? 

Maj. T. From you. Never, never to see you again. 
Or at least determined, fully determined, never to be 
guilty of a mean action ; never to cause you to commit 
an imprudent one. Let me go, Minna ! (Tears himself 
away, and Exit.) 

Min. (calling after him.) Let you go, Minna? Minna, 
let you go? Tellheim ! Tellheim ! 



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[Act III. 



ACT in. 

Scene I. — The Parlour, Just (with a letter in his 
hand.) 

Just. Must I come again into this cursed house ! A 
note from my master to her ladyship that would be his 
sister. I hope nothing will come of this, or else there 
will be no end to letter carrying. I should like to be rid 
of it ; but yet I don't wish to go into the room. The 
women ask so many questions, and I hate answering — 
Ah ! the door opens. Just what I wanted, the waiting 
puss ! 

Scene II. — Franziska and Just. 

Fran, (calling through the door by which she has just 
entered). Fear not; I will watch. See! (observing Just) 
I have met with something immediately. But nothing 
is to be done with that brute. 

Just. Your servant. 

Fran. I should not like such a servant. 

Just. W ell, well, pardon the expression ! There is 
a note from my master to your mistress — her ladyship — 
his sister, wasn't it ? — sister. 

Fran. Give it me ! (Snatches it from his hand.) 

Just. You will be so good, my master begs, as to 
deliver it. Afterwards you will be so good, my master 
begs, as not to think I ask for anything ! 

Fran. Well ? 

Just. My master understands how to manage the affair. 
He knows that the way to the young lady is through her 
maid, methinks. The maid will therefore be so good, my 
master begs, as to let him know whether he may not have 
the pleasure of speaking with the maid for a quarter of an 
hour. 

Fran. With me? 

Just. Pardon me, if I do not give you your right title. 
Yes, with you. Only for one quarter of an hour ; but 
alone, quite alone, in private, tete-a-tete. He has some- 
thing very particular to say to you. 



Scene II.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



3G3 



Fran. Very well! I have also much to say to hiin. 
He may come ; I shall be at his service. 

Just. But when can he come ? When is it most con- 
venient for you, young woman ? In the evening ? 

Fran. What do you mean? Your master can come 
when he pleases ; and now be off. 

Just. Most willingly ! (Going.) 

Fran. I say ! one word more ! Where are the rest of 
the Major's servants ? 

Just. The rest ? Here, there, and everywhere. 
Fran. Where is William ? 

Just. The valet ? He has let him go for a trip. 
Fran. Oh ! and Philip, where is he ? 
Just. The huntsman ? Master has found him a good 
place. 

Fran. Because he does not hunt now, of course. But 
Martin ? 

Just. The coachman ? He is off on a ride. 
Fran. And Fritz? 

Just. The footman ? He is promoted. 

Fkan. Where were you then, when the Major was 
quartered in Thuringia with us that winter ? You were 
not with him, I suppose ! 

Just. Oh ! yes, I was groom ; but I was in the 
hospital. 

Fran. Groom ! and now you are 

Just. All in all ; valet and huntsman, footman and 
groom. 

Fran. Well, I never ! To turn away so many good, 
excellent, servants, and to keep the very worst of all ! I 
should like to know what your master finds in you ! 

Just. Perhaps he finds that I am an honest fellow. 

Fran. Oh ! one is precious little if one is nothing more 
than honest. William was another sort of a man! So 
your master has let him go for a trip ! 

Just. Yes, he .... let him — because he could not 
prevent him. 

Fran. How so ? 

Just. Oh ! William will do well on his travels. He 
took master's wardrobe with him. 

Fran. What ! he did not run away with it ? 



364 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act IIL 

J ust. I cannot say that exactly ; but when we left 
Niirnberg, he did not follow us with it. 
Fran. Oh ! the rascal ! 

Just. He was the right sort ! he could curl hair and 
shave — and chatter — and flirt — couldn't he ? 

Fran. At any rate, I would not have turned away the 
huntsman, had I been in the Major's place. If he did not 
want him any longer as huntsman, he was still a useful 
fellow. Where has he found him a place ? 

Jusr. With the Commandant of Spandau. 

Fran. The fortress ! There cannot be much hunting 
within the walls either. 

Just. Oh ! Philip does not hunt there. 

Fran. What does he do then ? 

Just. He rides — on the treadmill. 

Fran. The treadmill ! 

Just. But only for three years. He made a bit of a 
plot amongst master's company, to get six men through 
the outposts. 

Fran. I am astonished ; the knave ! 

J ust. Ah ! he was a useful fellow ; a huntsman who 
knew all the foot-paths and by-ways for fifty miles round, 
through forests and bogs. And he could shoot ! 

Fran. It is lucky the Major has still got the honest 
coachman. 

Just. Has he got him still ? 

Fran. I thought you said Martin was off on a ride : 
of course he will come back ! 

J ust. Do you think so ? 

Fran. Well, where has he ridden to ? 

Just. It is now going on for ten weeks since he rode 
master's last and only horse — to water. 

Fran. And has not he come back yet ? Oh ! the 
rascal ! 

Just. The water may have washed the honest coach- 
man away. Oh ! he was a famous coachman ! He had 
driven ten years in Vienna. My master will never get 
such another again. When the horses were in full 
gallop, he only had to say " 77 o !" and there they 
stood, like a wall. Moreover, he was a finished horse- 
doctor ! 



Scene III.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



365 



Fran. I begin now to be anxious about the footman's 
promotion. 

Just. No, no ; there is no occasion for that. He has 
become a drummer in a garrison regiment. 
Fran. I thought as much ! 

Just. Fritz chummed up with a scamp, never came 
home at night, made debts everywhere in master's name, 
and a thousand rascally tricks. In short, the Major saw 
that he was determined to rise in the world (pantomimic- 
ally imitating the act of hanging), so he put him in the 
right road. 

Fran. Oh ! the stupid ! 

Just. Yet a perfect footman, there is no doubt of that. 
In running, my master could not catch him on his best 
horse if he gave him fifty paces ; but on the other 
hand, Fritz could give the gallows a thousand paces, and, 
I bet my life, he would overhaul it. They were all great 
friends of yours, eh, young woman ? . . . . William and 
Philip, Martin and Fritz ! Now, Just wishes you good- 
day. (Exit.) 

Scene III. — Franziska, and afterwards the Landlord. 

Fran, (looking after him seriously). I deserve the hit! 
Thank you, Just. I undervalued honesty. I will not 
forget the lesson. Ah ! our unfortunate Major ! ( Turns 
round to enter her mistress's room, when the Landlord comes). 

Land. Wait a bit, my pretty maid. 

Fran. I have not time now, Mr. Landlord. 

Land. Only half a moment ! No further tidings of 
the Major ? That surely could not possibly be his leave- 
taking ! 

Fran. What could not ? 

Land. Has not her ladyship told you ? When I left 
you, my pretty maid, below in the kitchen, I returned 
accidentally into this room 

Fran. Accidentally — with a view to listen a little. 

Land. What, girl ! how can you suspect me of that ? 
There is nothing so bad in a landlord as curiosity. I 
had not been here long, when suddenly her ladyship's 
door burst open : the Major dashed out ; the lady after 
him; both in such a state of excitement; with looks — in 



366 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



attitudes — that must be seen to be understood. She seized 
hold of him ; he tore himself away ; she seized him again — 
"Tellheim." " Let me go, Madam." "Where?" Thus he 
drew her as far as the staircase. I was really afraid he would 
drag her down ; but he got away. The lady remained on 
the top step ; looked after him ; called after him ; wrung 
her hands. Suddenly she turned round ; ran to the 
window ; from the window to the staircase again ; from 
the staircase into the room, backwards and forwards. 
There I stood ; she passed me three times without seeing 
me. At length it seemed as if she saw me ; but heaven 
defend us ! I believe the lady took me for you. " Fran- 
ziska," she cried, with her eyes fixed upon me, " am I 
happy now ?" Then she looked straight up to the ceiling, 
and said again — " Am I happy now ?" Then she wiped 
the tears from her eyes, and smiled, and asked me again — 
" Franziska, am I happy now ?" I really felt, I know not 
how. Then she ran to the door of her room, and turned 
round again towards me, saying — ■ " Come, Franziska, 
whom do you pity now ?" and with that she went in. 

Fran. Oh ! Mr. Landlord, you dreamt that. 

Land. Dreamt ! No, my pretty maid ; one does not 
dream so minutely. Yes, what would not I give —I am 
not curious : but what would not I give — to have the 
key to it ! 

Fran. The key? Of our door? Mr. Landlord, that 
is inside ; we took it in at night ; we are timid. 

Land. Not that sort of key ; I mean, my dear girl, the 
kipv — tho explanation, as it were ; the precise connexion of 
all that I have seen. 

FmAa. indeed! Well, good-bye Mr. Landlord. Shall 
we have dinner soon? 

Land. My dear girl, not to forget what I came to 
say 

Fran. Well ? In as few words as possible. 

Land. Her ladyship has my ring still. I call it 

mine 

Fran. You shall not lose it. 

Land. I have no fear on that account : I merely put 
you in mind. Do you see, I do not wish to have it again 
at all. I can guess pretty well how she knew the ring, 



Scene IV.j 



MINNA VON BAENHELM. 



367 



and why it was so like her own. It is "best in her hands. 
I do not want it any more ; and I can put them down — 
the hundred pistoles which I advanced for it, to the 
lady's bill. Will not that do, my pretty maid ? 

Scene IV. — Paul Werner, Landlord, Franziska. 
Wer. There he is ! 

Fkan. A hundred pistoles? I thought it was only eighty. 

Land. True, only ninety, only ninety. I will do so, 
my pretty maid, I will do so. 

Fran. All that will come right, Mr. Landlord. 

Wer. (coming from behind, and tapping Franziska on the 
shoulder). Little woman Little woman. 

Fran, (frightened). Oh ! dear ! 

Wer. Don't be alarmed ! I see you are pretty, and a 
stranger, too. And strangers who are pretty must be 
warned. Little woman ! little woman ! I advise you to 
beware of that fellow ! (pointing to the Landlord). 

Land. Ah ! What an unexpected pleasure ! Herr 
Werner ! Welcome, welcome ! Yes, you are just the same 
jovial, joking, honest Werner ! So you are to beware of 
me, my pretty maid. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Wer. Keep out of his way everywhere ! 

Land. My way ? Am I such a dangerous man ? Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! Hear him, my pretty maid ! A good joke, isn't it ? 

Wer. People like him always call it a joke, if one tells 
them the truth. 

Land. The truth. Ha ! ha ! ha ! Better and better, 
my pretty maid, isn't it ? He knows how to joke ! I 
dangerous ? I ? Twenty years ago there might have been 
something in it. Yes, yes, my pretty maid, then I was a 
dangerous man ; many a one knew it ; but now 

W 7 er. Oh! the old fool! 

Land. There it is ! When we get old, danger is at an 
end ! It will be so with you too, Herr Werner ! 

Wer. You utter old fool ! Little woman, you will give 
me credit for enough common sense not to speak of 
danger from him. That one devil has left him, but seven 
others have entered into him. 

Land. Oh ! hear him ! How cleverly he can turn things 



3C8 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



about , Joke upon joke, and always something new ! Ah ! 
he is an excellent man, Paul Werner is. (To Franziska, as 
if whispering.) A well-to-do man, and a bachelor still. He 
has a nice little freehold three miles from here. He made 
prize-money in the war, and was a sergeant to the Major. 
Yes, he is a real friend of the Major's ; he is a friend who 
would give his life for him. 

Wer. Yes ; and that is a friend of the Major's — that is 
a friend .... whose life the Major ought to take (pointing 
to the Landlord). 

Land. How ! What ! No, Herr Werner, that is not a 
good joke. I no friend to the Major ! I don't understand 
that joke. 

Wer. Just has told me pretty things. 

Land. Just! Ah! I thought Just was speaking 
through you. Just is a nasty, ill-natured man. But here 
on the spot stands a pretty maid — she can speak, she can 
say if I am no friend of the Major's — if I have not done 
him good service. And why should not I be his friend ? 
Is not he a deserving man ? It is true, he has had the 
misfortune to be discharged; but what of that? The 
king cannot be acquainted with all deserving officers; 
and if he knew them, he could not reward them all. 

W t er. Heaven put those words into your mouth. But 
Just .... certainly there is nothing remarkable about Just, 
but still Just is no liar ; and if that what he has told me 
be true 

Land. I don't want to hear anything about Just. As 
I said, this pretty maid here can speak. ( Whispering to her.) 
You know, my dear ; the ring ! Tell Herr Werner about it. 
Then he will learn better what I am. And that it may 
not appear as if she only said what I wish, I will not 
even be present. I will go ; but you shall tell me after, 
Herr Werner, you shall tell me, whether Just is not a foul 
slanderer. (Exit.) 

Scene V. — Werner, Franziska. 

Wer. Little woman, do you know my Major? 
Fran. Major von Tellheim ? Yes, indeed, I do know 
that good man. 



Scene V.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



3G9 



Wer. Is he not a good man ? Do you like him ? 

Fran. From the bottom of my heart. 

Wer. Indeed ! I tell you what, little woman, you 
are twice as pretty now as you were before. But what are 
the services, which the landlord says he has rendered our 
Major? 

Fran. That is what I don't know ; unless he wished 
to take credit to himself for the good result which fortu- 
nately has arisen from his knavish conduct. 

Wer. Then what Just told me is true? (Towards 
the side where the Landlord went off.') A lucky thing for 
you that you are gone ! He did really turn him out of his 
room ? — To treat such a man so, because the donkey 
fancied that he had no more money ! The Major no 
money ! 

Fran. What ! has the Major any money? 

Wer. By the load. He doesn't know how much he 
has. He doesn't know who is in his debt. I am his 
debtor, and have brought him some old arrears. Look, 
little woman, in this purse {drawing it out of one pocket) 
are a hundred louis d'ors ; and in this packet {drawing it 
out of another pocket) a hundred ducats. All his money ! 

Fran. Eeally ! Why then does the Major pawn his 
things ? He pledged a ring, you know 

Wer. Pledged ! Don't you believe it. Perhaps he 
wanted to get rid of the rubbish. 

Fran. It is no rubbish ; it is a very valuable ring ; 
which, moreover, I suspect, he received from a loving 
hand. 

Wer. That will be the reason. From a loving hand ! 
Yes, yes ; such a thing often puts one in mind of what one 
does not wish to remember, and therefore one gets rid 
of it. 

Fran. What ! 

"Wer. Odd things happen to the soldier in winter 
quarters. He has nothing to do then, so he amuses himself, 
and to pass the time he makes acquaintances, which he only 
intends for the winter, but which the good soul with whom 
he makes them, looks upon for life. Then, presto ! a ring is 
suddenly conjured on to his finger ; he hardly knows him- 
self how it gets there ; and very often he would willingly 

VOL. II. 2 B 




370 LESSING'S LilAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 

give the finger with it, if he could only get free from it 
again. 

Fran. Oh ! and do you think this has happened to the 
Major? 

Wer. Undoubtedly. Especially in Saxony. If he had 
had ten fingers on each hand, he might have had all twenty 
full of rings. 

Fran, (aside). That sounds important, and deserves to 
be inquired into. Mr. Freeholder, or Mr. Sergeant 

Wee. Little woman, if it makes no difference to you, I 
like " Mr. Sergeant " best. 

Fran. Well, Mr. Sergeant, I have a note from the 
Major to my mistress. I will just carry it in, and be here 
again in a moment. Will you be so good as to wait ? I 
should like very much to have a little talk with you. 

Wer. Are you fond of talking, little woman ? Well, 
with all my heart. Go quickly. 1 am fond of talking too : 
I will wait. 

Fran. Yes, please wait. (Exit.') 

Scene VI. — Paul Wehner. 

Wer. That is not at all a bad little woman. But I 
ought not to have promised her that I would wait, for it 
would be most to the purpose, I suppose, to find the Major. 
He will not have my money, but rather pawns his property. 
That is just his way. A little trick occurs to me. When 
I was in the town, a fortnight back, I paid a visit to 
Captain MarlofFs widow. The poor woman was ill, and 
was lamenting that her husband had died in debt to the 
Major for four hundred thalers, which she did not know 
how to pay. I went to see her again to-day ; I intended 
to tell her that I could lend her five hundred thalers, 
when I had received the money for my property ; for I 
must put some of it by, if I do not go to Persia. But she 
was gone ; and no doubt she has not been able to pay the 
Major. Yes, I'll do that ; and the sooner the better. The 
little woman must not take it ill of me ; 1 cannot wait. 

(Is going in thought, and almost runs against the Major, 
who meets him.) 



Scene VII.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



371 



Scene VII. — Major von Tellheim, Paul Werner. 

Mat. T. Why so thoughtful, Werner ? 

Wer. Oh ! that is you. I was just going to pay you a 
visit in your new quarters, Major. 

Maj. T. To fill my ears with curses against the Land- 
lord of my old one. Do not remind me of it. 

Wer. I should have done that by the way ; yes. But 
more particularly, I wished to thank you for having been 
so good as to take care of my hundred louis d'ors. Just 
has given them to me again. I should have been very 
glad if you would have kept them longer for me. But 
you have got into new quarters, which neither you nor I 
know much about. Who knows what sort of place ,it is ? 
They might be stolen, and you would have to make them 
good to me ; there would be no help for it. So I cannot 
ask you to take them again. 

Maj. T. (smiling). When did you begin to be so careful, 
Werner ? 

Wer. One learns to be so. One cannot now be careful 
enough of one's money. I have also a commission for you, 
Major, from Frau Marloff; I have just come from her. 
U er husband died four hundred thalers in your debt ; she 
sends you a hundred ducats here, in part payment. She 
will forward you the rest next week. I believe I am the 
cause that she has not sent you the whole sum. For she 
also owed me about eighty thalers, and she thought I was 
come to dun her for them— which, perhaps, was the fact 
— so she gave them me out of the roll which she had. put 
aside for you. You can spare your hundred thalers for a 
week longer, better than I can spare my few groschens. 
There, take it ! (Hands him the ducats.) 

Maj. T. Werner ! 

Wer. Well ! Why do you stare at me so ? Take it, 
Major ! 

Maj. T. Werner ! 

Wer. What is the matter with you? What annoys 
you? 

Maj. T. (angrily striking his forehead, and stamping with 
his foot.) That .... the four hundred thalers are not 
all there. 

2 b 2 



372 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



Wer. Come ! Major, did not you understand me ? 
Mat. T. It is just because I did understand you ! Alas, 
that the best men should to-day distress me most ! 
Wer. What do you say ? 

Maj. T. This only applies partly to you. Go, Werner ! 
(Pushing back Werner's hand with the money in it.) 

Wer. As soon as I have got rid of this. 

Maj. T. Werner, suppose I tell you that Frau Marloff 
was here herself early this morning 

W er. Indeed ? 

Maj. T. That she owes me nothing now 

AVer. Keally? 

Maj. T. That she has paid me every penny — What 
will you say then ? 

\\ er. {thinks for a minute'). I shall say that I have 
told a lie, and that lying is a low thing, because one may 
be caught at it. 

Maj. T. And you will be ashamed of yourself? 

Wer. And what of him who compels me to lie? 
Should not he be ashamed too? Look ye, Major; if I 
was to say that your conduct has not vexed me, I should 
tell another lie, and I wou't lie any more. 

Maj. T. Do not be annoyed, Werner. I know your 
heart, and your affection for me. But I do not require 
your money. 

Wer. Not require it ! Eather sell, rather pawn, and 
get talked about ! 

Maj. T. Oh ! people may know that I have nothing 
more. One must not wish to appear richer than one 
is. 

Wer. But why poorer ? A man has something as long 
as his friend has. 

Maj. T. It is not proper that I should be your debtor. 
. Wer. Not proper ! On that summer day which the 
sun and the enemy made hot for us, when your groom, 
who had your canteen, was not to be found, and you came 
to me and said — " Werner, have you nothing to drink? " 
and I gave you my flask, you took it and drank, did you 
not? Was that proper? Upon my life, a mouthful of 
dirty water at that time was often worth more than such 
filth (taking the purse also out of his pocket, and holding 



Scene VII.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



373 



out both to him). Take them, dear Major! Fancy it is 
water. God has made this, too, for all. 

Maj. T. You torment me : don't you hear, I will not 
be your debtor. 

Wer. At first, it was not proper ; now, you will not. 
Ah ! that is a different thing. (Bather angrily.) You will 
not be my debtor ? But suppose you are already, Major ? 
Or, are you not a debtor to the man who once warded off 
the blow that was meant to split your head ; and, at an- 
other time, knocked off the arm which was just going to 
pull and send a ball through your breast ? How can you 
become a greater debtor to that man? Or, is my neck 
of less consequence than my 'money ? If that is a noble 
way of thinking, by my soul it is a very silly one too. 

Maj. T. To whom do you say that, Werner? We are 
alone, and therefore I may speak ; if a third pers >n heard 
us, it might sound like boasting. I acknowledge with 
pleasure, that I have to thank you for twice saving my 
life. Do you not think, friend, that if an opportunity 
occurred I wuuld have done as much for you, eh ? 

Wer. If an opportunity occurred ! Who doubts it, 
Major? Have I not seen you risk your life a hundred 
times for the lowest soldier, when he was in danger ? 

Maj. T. Well! 

Wer. But 

Maj. T. Why cannot you understand me ? I say, it 
is not proper that I should be your debtor ; I will nut be 
your debtor. That is, not in the circumstances in which 
I now am. 

Wer. Oh ! so you would wait till better times. You 
will borrow money from me another time, when you do 
not want any ; when you have some yourself, and I 
perhaps none. 

Maj. T. A man ought not to borrow, when he has not 
the means of repaying. 

Wer. A man like yourself cannot always be in 
want. 

Maj. T. You know the world Least of all 

should a man borrow from one who wants his money 
himself. 

Wer. Oh ! yes ; I am such a one ! Pray, what do I 



374 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



want it for ? When they want a sergeant, they give him 
enough to live on. 

Maj. T. You want it, to become something more than 
a sergeant — to be able to get forward in that path in which 
even the most deserving, without money, may remain 
behind. 

Wer. To become something more than a sergeant ! I 
do not think of that. I am a good sergeant; I might 
easily make a bad captain, and certainly a worse general. 

Maj. T. Do not force me to think ill of you, Werner ! 
I was very sorry to hear what Just has told me. You 
have sold your farm, and wish to rove about again. Do 
not let me suppose that you do not love the profession of 
arms so much as the wild dissolute way of living which 
is unfortunately connected with it. A man should be a 
soldier for his own country, or from love of the cause 
for which he tights. To serve without any purpose — 
to-day here, to-morrow there — is only travelling about 
like a butcher's apprentice, nothing more. 

Wer. W ell, then, Major, I will do as you say. You 
know better what is right. I will remain with you. But, 
dear Major, do take my money in the meantime. Sooner 
or later your affairs must be settled. You will get money 
in plenty then ; and then you shall repay me with interest. 
1 only do it for the sake of the interest. 

Maj. T. Do not talk of it. 

Wer. Upon my life, I only do it for the sake of the 
interest. Many a time I have thought to myself — 
" Werner, what will become of you in your old age ? 
when you are crippled? when you will have nothing 
in the world ? when you will be obliged to go and beg !" 
And then I thought again — " No, you will not be obliged 
to beg : you will go to Major Tellheim ; he will share his 
last penny with you ; he will feed you till you die ; and 
with him you can die like an honest fellow." 

Maj. T (taking Werner's hand). And, comrade, you do 
not think so still ? 

Wer. No, I do not think so any longer. He who will 
not take anything from me, when he is in want, and I 
have to give, will not give me anything when he has to 
give, and I am in want. So be it. (Is going.) 



Scene IX.] 



MINNA VON BAItNHELM. 



375 



Mat. T. Man, do not drive me mad ! Where are you 
going ? (Detains him.) If I assure you now, upon my 
honour, that I still have money — If I assure you, upon 
my honour, that I will tell you when I have no more — 
that you shall be the first and only person from whom I 
will borrow anything — will that content you ? 

Wer. I suppose it must. Give me your hand on it, 
Major. 

Maj. T. There, Paul ! And now enough of that. I 
came here to speak with a certain young woman. 

Scene VIII. — Franziska (coming out of Minna's room), 
Major von Tellheim, Paul Werner. 

Fran, (entering). Are you there still, Mr. Sergeant? 
(Seeing Tellheim.) And you there too, Major? I will be 
at your service instantly. (Goes bach quickly into the 
room.) 

Scene IX. — Major von Tellheim, Paul Werner. 

Maj. T. That was she ! But it seems you know her, 
Werner. 

Wer. Yes, I know her. 

Maj. Yet, if I remember rightly, when I was in 
Thuringia you were not with me. 

Wer. No ; I was seeing after the uniforms in Leipsic. 

Maj. T. Where did you make her acquaintance, then ? 

Wer. Our acquaintance is very young. Not a day 
old. But young friendship is warm. 

Maj. T. Have you seen her mistress, too? 

Wer. Is her mistress a young lady ? She told me you 
are acquainted with her mistress. 

Maj. T. Did not you hear ? she comes from Thuringia. 

Wer. Is the lady young ? 

Maj. T. Yes. 

Wer. Pretty? 

Maj. T. Very pretty. 

Wer. Eich ? 

Maj. T. Very rich. 



376 



lessing's dramatic works. 



[Act III. 



Wer. Is the mistress as fond of you is the maid is ? 
That would be capital ! 

Maj. T. What do you mean? 

Scene X. — Franziska (with a letter in her hand), Major 
von Tellheim, Paul Werner. 

Fran. Major 

Maj. T. Franziska, I have not yet been able to give you 
a " Welcome " here. 

Fran. In thought, I am sure that you have done it. 
I know you are friendly to me ; so am I to you. But it is 
not at all kind to vex those who are friendly to you so much. 

Wer. (aside). Ah ! now I see it. It is so ! 

Maj. T. My destiny, Franziska ! Did you give her the 
letter ? 

Fran. Yes ; and here I bring you .... (holding out a 
letter). 

Maj. T. An answer ! 

Fran. No, your own letter again. 

Maj. T. What ! She will not read it ! 

Fran. She would have liked, but — we can't read 
writing well. 

Maj. T. You are joking ! 

Fran. And we think that writing was not invented for 
those who can converse with their lips whenever they please. 

Maj. T. What an excuse ! She must read it. It 
contains my justification— all the grounds and reasons 

Fran. My mistress wishes to hear them all from you 
yourself, not to read them. 

Maj. T. Hear them from me myself! That every 
look, every word of hers, may embarrass me ; that I may 
feel in every glance the greatness of my loss. 

Fran. Without any pity ! Take it. (Giving him his 
letter.) She expects you at three o'clock. She wishes to 
drive out and see the town ; you must accompany her £ 

Maj. T. Accompany her ! 

Fran. And what will you give me to let you driv* v&t 
by yourselves ? I shall remain at home ? 
Maj. T. By ourselves ! 
Fran. In a nice close carriage. 



Scene X.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



377 



Maj. T. Impossible ! 

Fran. Yes, yes, in the carriage, Major. You will have 
to submit quietly ; you cannot escape there ! And that is 
the reason. In short, you will come, Major, and punctually 
at three .... Well, you wanted to speak to me too alone. 
What have you to say to me ? Oh ! we are not alone. 
(Looking at Werner.) 

Maj. T. Yes, Franziska; as good as alone. But as 
your mistress has not read my letter, I have nothing now 
to say to you. 

Fran. As good as alone ! Then you have no secrets 
from the Sergeant ? 
Maj. T. No, none. 

Fran. And yet 1 think you should have some from him. 

Maj. T. Why so ? 

Wer. How so, little woman ? 

Fran. Particularly secrets of a certain kind All 

twenty, Mr. Sergeant ! (Holding up both her hands, with 
open fingers.) 

Wer. Hist! hist! girl. 

Maj. T. What is the meaning of that ? 

Fran. Presto ! conjured on to his finger, Mr. Sergeant 
(as if she was putting a ring on her finger.} 

Maj. T. What are you talking about ? 

Wer. Little woman, little woman, don't you under- 
stand a joke. 

Maj. T. Werner, you have not forgotten, I hope, what 
I have often told you ; that one should not jest beyond a 
certain point with a young woman ! 

Wer. Upon my life I may have forgotten it ! Little 
woman, I beg 

Fran. Well, if it was a joke, I will forgive you this 
once. 

Maj. T. Well, if I must come, Franziska, just see that 
your mistress reads my letter beforehand ? That will 
spare me the pain of thinking again — of talking again, of 
things which I would willingly forget. There, give it to 
her ! (He turns the letter in giving it to her, and sees that 
it has been opened.) But do I see aright? Why it has 
been opened. 

Fran. That may be. (Looks at it.) True, it is open. 



378 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act III. 



Who can have opened it ? But really we have not read it, 
Major ; really not. And we do not wish to read it, because 
the writer is coming himself. Come ; and I tell you what, 
Major ! don't come as you are now — in boots, and with 
such a head. You are excusable, you do not expect us. 
Come in shoes, and have your hair fresh dressed. You look 
too soldierlike, too Prussian for me as you are. 
Maj. T. Thank you, Franziska. 

Fran. You look as if you had been bivouacking last 
night. 

Maj. T. You may have guessed right. 

Fran. We are going to dress, directly too, and then have 
dinner. We would willingly ask you to dinner, but your 
presence might hinder our eating; and observe, we are 
not so much in love that we have lost our appetites. 

Maj. T. I will go. Prepare her somewhat, Franziska, 
beforehand, that I may not become contemptible in her eyes, 
and in my own. Come, Werner, you shall dine with me. 

Wer. At the table d'hote here in the house ? I could 
not eat a bit there. 

Maj. T. With me, in my room. 

Wer. I will follow you directly. One word first with 
the little woman. 

Maj. T. I have no objection to that. (Exit.) 

Scene XI. — Paul Werner, Franziska. 
Fran. Well, Mr. Sergeant ! 

Wer. Little woman, if I come again, shall I too come 
smartened up a bit ? 

Fran. Come as you please ; my eyes will find no fault 
with you. But my ears will have to be so much the more 
on their guard. Twenty fingers, all full of rings. Ah ! 
ah ! Mr. Sergeant ! 

Wer. No, little woman ; that is just what I wished to 
say to you. I only rattled on a little. There is nothing in 
it. One ring is quite enough for a man. Hundreds and 
hundreds of times 1 have heard the Major say — " He must 
be a rascally soldier, who can mislead a young girl." So 
think I too, little woman. You may trust to that ! I must 
be quick and follow him. A good appetite to you. (Exit.) 



Act IV.] 



MINNA VON BARNIIELM. 



379 



Fran. The same to you ! I really believe, I like that 
man! (Going in, she meets Minna coming out). 

Scene XII. — Minna, Franziska. 

Min. Has the Major gone already, Franziska ? I believe 
I should have been sufficiently composed again now to 
have detained him here. 

Fran. And I will make you still more composed. 

Min. So much the better ! His letter ! oh ! his letter ! 
Each line spoke the honourable noble man. Each refusal 
to accept my hand declared his love for me. I suppose 
he noticed that we had read his letter. I don't mind 
that, if he does but come. But are you sure he will 
come? There only seems to me to be a little too much 
pride in his conduct. For not to be willing to be indebted 
for his good fortune, even to the woman he loves, is pride, 
unpardonable pride ! If he shows me too much of this, 
Franziska 

Fran. You will discard him ! 

Min. See there ! Do you begin to pity him again already ! 
No, silly girl, a man is never discarded for a single fault. 
No ; but I have thought of a trick — to pay him off a little 
for this pride, with pride of the same kind. 

Fran. Indeed, you must be very composed, my lady, 
if you are thinking of tricks again. 

Min. I am so ; come. You will have a part to play in 
my plot. (Exeunt.) 



ACT IV. 

Scene I. Minna's Boom. Minna (dressed handsomely and 
richly, but in good taste ), Franziska. 

(They have just risen from a table, which a servant is 
clearing.) 

Fran. You cannot possibly have eaten enough, my lady. 
Min. Don't you think so, Franziska ? Perhaps I had 
no appetite when I sat down. 



380 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Ac: IV. 

Fran. We had agreed n ot to mention him during dinner. 
We should have resolved likewise, not to think of him. 

Mix. Indeed, I have thought of nothing but him. 

Fran. So I perceived. I began to speak of a hundred 
different things, and you made wrong answers to each. 
(Another servant brings coffee.') Here comes a beverage 
more suited to fancies — sweet, melancholy coffee. 

Min. Fancies! I have none. I am only thinking of 
the lesson I will give him. Did you understand my plan, 
Franziska ? 

Fran. Oh ! yes ; but it would be better if he spared us 
the putting it in execution. 

Min. You will see that I know him thoroughly. He 
who refuses me now with all my wealth, will contend 
for me against the whole world, as soon as he hears that 
I am unfortunate and friendless. 

Fran, (seriously). That must tickle the most refined 
self-love. 

Min. You moralist ! First you convict me of vanity 
— now of self-love. Let me do as I please, Franziska. 
You, too, shall do as you please with your Sergeant. 

Fran. With my Sergeant ? 

Min. Yes. If you deny it altogether, then it is true. 
I have not seen him yet ; but from all you have said 
respecting him, I foretell your husband for you. 

Scene II. — Riccaut de la Marliniere, Minna, 
Franziska. 

Eic. (before he enters)^ Est-il permis, Monsieur le 
Major ? 

Fran. Who is that ? Any one for us ? (going to the door). 

Ric. Parbleu ! I am wrong. Mais non — I am not 
wrong. C'est la chambre 

Fran. Without doubt, my lady, this gentleman expects 
to find Major von Tellheim here still. 

Eic. Oui, dat is it ! Le Major de Tellheim ; juste, ma 
belle enfant, c'est lui que je cherche. Ou est-il ? 

Fran. He does not lodge here any longer. 

Eic. Comment? Dere is four-and-twenty hour ago 



Scene II.] 



MINNA VON BARNIIELM. 



381 



he did lodge here, and not lodge here any more ? Where 
lodge he den ? 

Min. (going up to him). Sir 

Eic. Ah ! Madame, Mademoiselle, pardon, lady. 

Min. Sir, your mistake is quite excusable, and your 
astonishment very natural. Major von Tellheim has had 
the kindness to give up his apartments to me, as a stranger, 
who was not able to get them elsewhere. 

Eic. Ah ! voila de ses politesses ! C'est un tres-galant 
homme que ce Major ! 

Min. Where has he gone now? — truly I am ashamed 
that I do not know. 

Eic. Madame not know? C'est dommage ; j'en suis 
fache. 

Min. I certainly ought to have inquired. Of course his 
friends will seek him here. 

Eic. I am vary great his friend, Madame. 
Min. Franziska, do you not know ? 
Fran. No, my lady. 

Eic. It is vary necessaire dat I speak him. I come 
and bring him a nouvelle, of which he will be vary much 
at ease. 

Min. I regret it so much the more. But I hope to see 
him perhaps shortly. If it is a matter of indifference from 
whom he hears this good news, I would offer, sir, 

Eic. I comprehend. Mademoiselle parle francais? 
Mais sans doute ; telle que je la vois ! La demande etait 
bien impolie ; vous me pardonnerez, Mademoiselle. 

Min. Sir 

Eic. No ! You not speak French, Madame ? 

Min. Sir, in France I would endeavour to do so ; but 
why here ? I perceive that you understand me, sir ; and 
I, sir, shall doubtless understand you ; speak as you 
please. 

Eic. Good, good! I can also explain me in your 
langue. Sachez done, Mademoiselle, you must know, 
Madame, dat I come from de table of de ministre, ministre 
de, ministre de . . . . What is le ministre out dere, in 
de long street, on de broad place ? 

Min. I am a perfect stranger here, 

Eic. Si, le ministre of de war departement. Dere I 



382 



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[Act IV 



have eat my dinner; I ordinary dine dere, and de con- 
versation did fall on Major Tellheiin ; et le ministre m'a 
dit en confidence, car Son Excellence est de mes amis, et 
il n'y a point de mysteres entre nons ; Son Excellence, I 
say, has trust to me, dat l'affaire from our Major is on de 
point to end, and to end good. He has made a rapport to 
de king, and de king has resolved et tout a fait en faveur 
du Major. "Monsieur," m'a dit Son Excellence, "vous 
comprenez bien, que tout depend de la maniere, dont on 
fait envisager les choses au roi, et vous me connaissez. 
Cela fait un tres-joli garcon que ce Tellheim, et ne sais-je 
pas que vous l'aimez ? Les amis de mes amis sont aussi 
les miens. II coute un peu cher au Eoi ce Tellheim, mais 
est-ce que Ton sert les rois pour rien ? II faut s'entr'aider 
en ce monde ; et quand il s'agit de pertes, que ce soit le 
Eoi qui en fasse, et non pas un honnete homme de nous 
autres. Voila le principe, dont je ne me depars jamais." 
But what say Madame to it ? N'est pas, dat is a fine 
fellow ! Ah ! que Son Excellence a le cceur bien place ! 
He assure me au reste, if de Major has not recu already 
une lettre de la main — a royal letter, dat to-day infaillible- 
ment must he receive one. 

Min. Certainly, sir, this news will be most welcome 
to Major von Tellheim. I should like to be able to name the 
friend to him, who takes such an interest in his welfare. 

Eic. Madame, you wish my name? Vous voyez en 
moi — you see, lady, in me, le Chevalier Riccaut de la 
Marliniere, Seigneur de Pret-au-val, de la branche de 
Prens d'or. You remain astonished to hear me from so 
great, great a family, qui est veritablement du sang 
royal. II faut le dire ; je suis sans doute le cadet le plus 
aventureux que la maison n'a jamais eu. I serve from 
my eleven year. Une affaire d'honneur make me flee. 
Den I serve de holy Papa of Eome, den de Eepublic 
St. Marino, den de Poles, den de States General, till 
enfin I am brought here. Ah! Mademoiselle, que je 
voudrais n'avoir jamais vu ce pays-ci. Had one left me 
in de service of de States General, should I be now at 
least colonel. But here always to remain capitaine, and 
now also a discharged capitaine. 

Min. That is ill luck. 



Scene II.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



383 



Eic. Oui, Mademoiselle, me voila reforme, et par la 
mis sur le pave ! 

Min. I am very sorry for yon. 

Eic. Vous etes bien bonne, Mademoiselle No, 

merit have no reward here. Reformer a man, like me ! 
A man who also have ruin himself in dis service ! I have 
lost in it so much as twenty thousand livres. What have 
I now ? Tranchons le mot ; je n'ai pas le sou, et me voila 
exactement vis-a-vis de rien. 

Min. I am exceedingly sorry. 

Eic. Vous etes bien bonne, Mademoiselle. But as one 
say — misfortune never come alone! qu'un malheur ne 
vient jamais seul : so it arrive with me. What ressource 
rests for an honnete homme of my extraction, but play ? 
Now, I always played with luck, so long I not need her. 
Now I very much need her, je joue avec un guignon, 
Mademoiselle, qui surpasse toute croyance. For fifteen 
days, not one is passed, clat I always am broke. Yester- 
day, I was broke dree times. Je sais bien, qu'il y avait 
quelque chose de plus que le jeu. Car parmi mes pontes 
se trouvaient certaines dames. I will not speak more. 
One must be very galant to les dames. Dey have invite 
me again to-day, to give me revanche ; mais — vous m'en- 
tendez, Mademoiselle, — one must first have to live, before 
one can have to play. 

Min. I hope, sir, 

Ric. Vous etes bien bonne, Mademoiselle. 

Min. (Takes Franziska aside.) Franziska, I really feel 
for the man. Would he take it ill, if I offer him some- 
thing ? 

Fran. He does not look to me like a man who would. 

Min. Very well ! Sir, I perceive that — you play, 
that you keep the bank ; doubtless in places where some- 
thing is to be won. I must also confess that I . . . . am 
very fond of play. 

Ric. Tant mieux, Mademoiselle, tant mieux ! Tous 
les gens d'esprit aiment le jeu a la fureur. 

Min. That I am very fond of winning ; that I like to 
trust my money to a man, who — knows how to play. 
Are you inclined, sir, to let me join you? To let me 
have a share in your bank ? 



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Eic. Comment, Mademoiselle, vous voulez etre de 
moitie avec moi? De tout mon coaur. 

Min. At first, only with a trifle. (jOpens her desk 
and takes out some money. ,) 

Eic. Ah ! Mademoiselle, que vous etes charmante ! 

Min. Here is what I won a short time back ; only ten 
pistoles. I am ashamed, so little 

Kic. Donnez toujours, Mademoiselle, donnez. (Takes 

it.) 

Min. W ithout doubt, your bank, sir, is very consider- 
able. 

Kic. Oh ! yes, vary considerable. Ten pistoles ! You 
shall have, Madame, an interest in my bank for one third, 
pour le tiers. Yes, one third part it shall be — something 
more. With a beautiful lady one must not be too exac. 
I rejoice myself, to make by that a liaison with Madame, 
et de ce moment je recommence a bien augurer de ma 
fortune. 

Min. But I cannot be present, sir, when you play. 

Eic. For why it necessaire dat you be present ? We 
other players are honourable people between us. 

Min. If we are fortunate, sir, you will of course bring 
me my share. If we are unfortunate 

Eic. I coine to bring recruits, n'est pas, Madame ? 

Min. In time recruits might fail. Manage our money 
well, sir. 

Eic. What does Madame think me ? A simpleton, a 
stupid devil? 

Min. I beg your pardon. 

Eic. Je suis des bons, Mademoiselle. Savez vous ce 

que cela veut dire ? I am of the quite practised 

Min. But still, sir, 

Eic. Je sais monter un coup 

Min. (amazed). Could you ? 

Eic. Je file la carte avec une adresse. 

Min. Never ! 

Eic. Je fais sauter la coupe avec une dexterite. 

Min. You surely would not, sir ! 

Eic. What not, Madame ; what not ? Donnez moi un 

pigeonneau a plumer, et 

Min. Play false ! Cheat ! 



Scene III.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



385 



Eic. Comment, Mademoiselle? Vous appclez cela 
cheat? Corriger la fortune, l'enchamer sous ses doigts, 
etre star de son fait, dat you call cheat ? Cheat ! Oh ! 
what a poor tongue is your tongue ! what an awkward 
tongue ! 

Min. No, sir, if you think so 

Ric. Laissez-moi faire, Mademoiselle, and be tranquille ! 
What matter to you how I play ! Enough ! to-morrow, 
Madame, you see me again or with hundred pistol, or you 
see me no more. Votre tres-humble, Mademoiselle, votre 
tres-humble. (Exit quickly.) 

Min. (looking after him with astonishment and displeasure). 
I hope the latter, sir. 



Scene III.— Minna and Franziska. 

Fran, (angrily). What can I say? Oh! how grand! 
bow grand ! 

Min. Laugh at me ; I deserve it. (After reflecting, 
more calmly.) No, do not laugh ; I do not deserve it. 

Fran. Excellent ! You have done a charming act — set 
a knave upon his legs again. 

Min. It was intended for an unfortunate man. 

Fran. And what is the best part of it, the fellow con- 
siders you like himself. Oh ! I must follow him, and take 
the money from him. (Going.) 

Min. Franziska, do not let the coffee get quite cold ; 
pour it out. 

Fran. He must return it to you ; you have thought 
better of it ; you will not play in partnership with him. 
Ten pistoles ! You heard, my lady, that he was a beggar ! 
(Minna pours out the coffee herself.) Who would give such 
a sum to a beggar ? And to endeavour, into the bargain, 
to save him the humiliation of having begged for it! 
The charitable woman who, out of generosity, mistakes 
the beggar, is in return mistaken by the beggar. It serves 
you right, my lady, if he considers your gift as — I know not 
what. (Minna hands a cup of coffee to Franziska.) Do you 
wish to make my blood boil still more ? I do not want 
any. (Minna puts it down again.) ** Parbleu, Madame, merit 

vol. ii. 2 c 



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[Act IV. 



have no reward here " (imitating the Frenchman). I think 
not, when such rogues are allowed to walk about unhanged. 

MiN. (coldly and slowly, while sipping her coffee). Girl, 
you understand good men very well ; but when will you 
learn to bear with the bad ? And yet they are also men ; 
and frequently not so bad as they seem. One should 
look for their good side. I fancy this Frenchman is 
nothing worse than vain. Through mere vanity he gives 
himself out as a false player ; he does not wish to appear 
under an obligation to one ; he wishes to save himself the 
thanks. Perhaps he may now go, pay his small debts, 
live quietly and frugally on the rest as far as it will go, 
and think no more of play. If that be so, Franziska, let 
him come for recruits whenever he pleases. (Gives her cup 
to Franziska.) There, put it down! But, tell me, should 
not Tellheim be here by this time ? 

Fran. No, my lady, I can neither find out the bad 
side in a good man, nor the good side in a bad man. 

Min. Surely he will come ! 

Fran. He ought to remain away! You remark in 
him — in him, the best of men — a little pride; and there- 
fore you intend to tease him so cruelly ! 

Min. Are you at it again ? Be silent ! I will have it 
so. Woe to you if you spoil this fun of mine .... if you 
do not say and do all, as we have agreed. I will leave 
you with him alone ; and then — but here he comes. 

Scene IV. Paul Werner (comes in, carrying himself very 
erect as if on duty), Minna, Franziska. 

Fran. No, it is only his dear Sergeant. 

Min. Dear Sergeant ! Whom does the " dear " refer to ? 

Fran. Pray, my lady, do not make the man embar- 
rassed. Your servant, Mr. Sergeant ; what news do you 
bring us ? 

Wer. (goes up to Minna, without noticing Franziska.) 
Major von Tellheim begs to present, through me, Sergeant 
Werner, his most respectful compliments to Friiulein von 
Barnhelm, and to inform her that he will be here directly. 

Min. Where is he then ? 

Wer. Your ladyship will pardon him; we left our 



Scene V.] 



MINNA VON BARNHSLM. 



387 



quarters before it began to strike three ; but the paymaster 
met us on the way ; and because conversation with those 
gentlemen has no end, the Major made me a sign to report 
the case to your ladyship. 

Min. Very well, Mr. Sergeant. I only hope the pay- 
master may have good news for him. 

Wer. Such gentlemen seldom have good news for 
officers. — Has your ladyship any orders? (Going. ,) 

Fran. Why, where are you going again, Mr. Sergeant ? 
Had not we something to say to each other ? 

Wer. (In a whisper to Franziska, and seriously). Not 
here, little woman ; it is against respect, against discipline. 
.... Your ladyship 

Min. Thank you for your trouble. I am glad to have 
made your acquaintance. Franziska has spoken in high 
praise of you to me. (Werner makes a stiff bow, and goes.) 

Scene V. — Minna, Franziska. 

Min. So that is your Sergeant, Franziska ? 

Fran, (aside). I have not time to reproach her for 
that jeering your. (Aloud.) Yes, my lady, that is my 
Sergeant. You think him, no doubt, somewhat stiff and 
wooden. He also appeared so to me just now ; but I ob- 
served, he thought he must march past you as if on parade. 
And when soldiers are on parade, they certainly look 
more like wooden dolls than men. You should see and 
hear him when he is himself. 

Min. So I should indeed ! 

Fran. He must still be in the next room ; may I go and 
talk with him a little ? 

Min. I refuse you this pleasure unwillingly : but you 
must remain here, Franziska. You must be present at our 
conversation. Another thing occurs to me. (Takes her 
ring from her finger.) There, take my ring ; keep it for me, 
and give me the Major's in the place of it. 

Fran. Why so ? 

Min. (whilst Franziska is fetching the ring). I scarcely 
know, myself; but I fancy I see, beforehand, how I may 
make use of it. Some one is knocking. Give it to me, 
quickly. (Puts the ring on.) It is he. 

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[Act IV. 



Scene VI. — Major von Tellheim (in the same coat, but 
otherwise as Franziska advised), Minna, Franziska. 

Ma j. T. Madam, you will excuse the delay. 

Min. Oh ! Major, we will not treat each other in quite 
such a military fashion. You are here now; and to 
await a pleasure, is itself a pleasure. Well (looking at 
him and smiling) dear Tellheim, have we not been like 
children ? 

Mat. T. Yes, Madam ; like children, who resist when 
they ought to obey quietly. 

Min. We will drive out, dear Major, to see a little of 
the town, and afterwards to meet my uncle. 

Maj. T. What ! 

Min. You see, we have not yet had an opportunity 
of mentioning the most important matters even. He is 
coming here to-day. It was accident that brought me 
here without him, a day sooner. 

Maj. T. Count von Bruchsal ! Has he returned ? 

Min. The troubles of the war drove him into Italy : 
peace has brought him back again. Do not be uneasy, 
Tellheim ; if we formerly feared on his part the greatest 
obstacle to our union 

Maj. T. To our union ! 

Min. He is now your friend. He has heard too much 
good of you from too many people, not to become so. He 
longs to become personally acquainted with the man whom 
his heiress has chosen. He comes as uncle, as guardian, as 
father, to give me to you. 

Maj. T. Ah ! dear lady, why did you not read my 
letter ? Why would you not read it ? 

Min. Your letter ! Oh ! yes, I remember you sent me 
one. What did you do with that letter, Franziska ? Did 
we, or did we not read it ? What was it you wrote to me, 
dear Tellheim ? 

Maj. T. Nothing but what honour commands me. 

Min. That is, not to desert an honourable woman who 
loves you. Certainly that is what honour commands. 
Indeed, I ought to have read your letter. But what I 
have not read, I shall hear, shall not I ? 

Maj. T. Yes, you shall hear it. 



Scene VI.] 



MINNA VON BAItNHELM. 



380 



Min. No, I need not even hear it. It speaks for itself. 
As if you could be guilty of such an unworthy act, as not 
to take me ! Do you know that I should be pointed at for 
the rest of my life ? My countrywomen would talk about 
me, and say, " That is she, that is the Fraulein von Barn- 
helm, who fancied that because she was rich she could 
marry the noble Tellheim ; as if such men were to be 
caught with money." That is what they would say, for 
they are all envious of me. That I am rich, they cannot 
deny ; but they do not wish to acknowledge that I am also 
a tolerably good girl, who would prove herself worthy of 
her husband. Is that not so, Tellheim ? 

Maj. T. Yes, yes, Madam, that is like your country- 
women. They will envy you exceedingly a discharged 
officer, with sullied honour, a cripj)le, and a beggar. ' 

Min. And are you all that? If I mistake not, you 
told me something of the kind this forenoon. Therein 
is good and evil mixed. Let us examine each charge 
more closely. You are discharged ? So you say. I 
thought your regiment was only drafted into another. 
How did it happen that a man of your merit was not 
retained ? 

Maj. T. It has happened, as it must happen. The 
great ones are convinced that a soldier does very little 
through regard for them, not much more from a sense of duty, 
but everything for his own advantage. What then can 
they think they owe him? Peace has made a great many, 
like myself, superfluous to them ; and at last we shall all 
be superfluous. 

Min. You talk as a man must talk, to whom in return 
the great are quite superfluous. And never were they 
more so than now. I return my best thanks to the great 
ones that they have given up their claims to a man whom 
I would very unwillingly have shared with them. I am 
your sovereign, Tellheim ; you want no other master. 
To find you discharged, is a piece of good fortune I dared 
scarcely dream of ! But you are not only discharged ; 
you are more. And what are you more? A cripple, you 
say ! Well ! (looking at him from head to foot), the cripple 
is tolerably whole and upright — appears still to be 
pretty well, and strong. Dear Tellheim, if you expect to 
go begging on the strength of your limbs, I prophesy 



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[Act IV. 



that you will be relieved at very few doors ; except at 
the door of a good-natured girl like myself. 

Maj. T. I only hear the joking girl now, dear Minna. 

Mix. And I only hear the " dear Minna " in your 
chiding. I will not joke any longer ; for I recollect that 
after all you are something of a cripple. You are wounded 
by a shot in the right arm ; but, all things considered, I 
do not find much fault with that. I am so much the 
more secure from your blows. 

Maj. T. Madam ! 

Min. You would say, " You are so much the less 
secure from mine." Well, well, dear Tellheim, I hope 
you will not drive me to that. 

Maj. T. You laugh, Madam. I only lament that I 
cannot laugh with you. 

Min. Why not? What have you to say against 
laughing? Cannot one be very serious even whilst 
laughing ? Dear Major, laughter keeps us more rational 
than vexation. The proof is before us. Your laughing 
friend judges of your circumstances more correctly than 
you do yourself. Because you are discharged, you say 
your honour is sullied ; because you are wounded in the 
arm, you call yourself a cripple. Is that right ? Is that 
no exaggeration ? And is it my doing that all exaggera- 
tions are so open to ridicule ? I dare say, if I examine 
your beggary that it will also be as little able to stand 
the test. You may have lost your equipage once, twice, 
or thrice ; your deposits in the hands of this or that 
banker may have disappeared together with those of other 
people ; you may have no hope of seeing this or that money 
again which you may have advanced in the service ; but 
are you a beggar on that account ? If nothing else re- 
mained to you but what my uncle is bringing for you 

Maj. T. Your uncle, Madam, will bring nothing for me. 

Min. Nothing but the two thousand pistoles Avhich 
you so generously advanced to our government. 

Maj. T. If you had but read my letter, Madam ! 

Min. Well, I did read it. But what I read in it, on 
this point, is a perfect riddle. It is impossible that any 
one should wish to turn a noble action into a crime. But 
explain to me, dear Major. 

Maj. T. You remember, Madam, that I had orders to 



Scene VI.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



301 



collect the contribution for the war most strictly in cash 
in the districts in your neighbourhood. I wished to 
forego this severity, and advanced the money that was 
deficient myself. 

Min. I remember it well. I loved you for that deed 
before I had seen you. 

Maj. T. The government gave me their bill, and I 
wished, at the signing of the peace, to have the sum 
entered amongst the debts to be repaid by them. The 
bill was acknowledged as good, but my ownership of the 
same was disputed. People looked incredulous, when I 
declared that I had myself advanced the amount in cash. 
It was considered as bribery, as a douceur from the 
government, because I at once agreed to take the smallest 
sum with which I could have been satisfied in a case of 
the greatest exigency. Thus the bill went from my 
possession, and if it be paid, will certainly not be paid to 
me. Hence, Madam, I consider my honour to be sus- 
pected ! not on account of my discharge, which, if I had 
not received, I should have applied for. You look serious, 
Madam ! Why do you not laugh ? Ha ! ha ! ha ! I am 
laughing. 

Min. Oh ! stifle that laugh, Tellheim, I implore you ! 
It is the terrible laugh of misanthropy. No, you are 
not the man to repent of a good deed, because it may 
have had a bad result for yourself. Nor can these con- 
sequences possibly be of long duration. The truth must 
come to light. The testimony of my uncle, of our govern- 
ment 

Maj. T. Of your uncle ! Of your government ! Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! 

Min. That laugh will kill me, Tellheim. If you 
believe in virtue and Providence, Tellheim, do not laugh 
so ! I never heard a curse more terrible than that laugh ! 
But, viewing the matter in the worst light, if they are 
determined to mistake your character here, with us you 
will not be misunderstood. No, we cannot, we will not, 
misunderstand you, Tellheim. And if our government 
has the least sentiment of honour, I know what it 
must do. But 1 am foolish ; what would that matter ? 
Imagine, Tellheim, that you have lost the two thousand 



392 



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pistoles on some gay evening. The king was an unfor- 
tunate card for you : the queen (pointing to herself) will 
be so much the more favourable. Providence, believe 
me, always indemnities a man of honour — often even 
beforehand. The action which was to cost you two 
thousand pistoles, gained you me. Without that action, 
I never should have been desirous of making your ac- 
quaintance. You know I went uninvited to the first 
party where I thought I should meet you. I went 
entirely on your account. I went with a fixed determina- 
tion to love you — I loved you already! with the fixed 
determination to make you mine, if I should find you as 
dark and ugly as the Moor of Venice. So dark and ugly 
you are not ; nor will you be so jealous. But, Tellheim, 
Tellheim, you are yet very like him ! Oh ! the un- 
manageable, stubborn man, wKo always keeps his eye 
fixed upon the phantom of honour, and becomes hardened 
against every other sentiment ! Your eyes this way ! 
Upon me, me, Tellheim! (He remains thoughtful and im- 
movable, with his eyes fixed on one spot.) Of what are }'OU 
thinking? Do you not hear me ? 

Maj. T. (absent). Oh, yes ; but tell me, how came the 
Moor into the service of Venice? Had the Moor no 
country of his own ? Why did he hire his arm and his 
blood to a foreign land ? 

Min. (alarmed). Of what are you thinking, Tellheim? 
It is time to break off. Come ! (taking him by the hand). 
Franziska, let the carriage be brought round. 

Maj. T. (disengaging his hand, and following Franziska). 
No, Franziska ; I cannot have the honour of accompany- 
ing your mistress. Madam, let me still retain my senses 
unimpaired for to-day, and give me leave to go. You are 
on the right way to deprive me of them. I resist it as much 
as I can. But hear, whilst I am still myself, what I have 
firmly determined, and from which nothing in the world 
shall turn me. If I have not better luck in the game of 
life ; if a complete change in my fortune does not take 
place ; if 

Min. I must interrupt you, Major. We ought to have 
told him that at first, Franziska. — You remind me of 
nothing. — Our conversation would have taken quite a 



Scene VI.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



393 



different turn, Tellheim, if I had commenced with the 
good news which the Chevalier de la Marliniere brought 
just now. 

Maj. T. The Chevalier de la Marliniere ! Who is he? 

Fran. He may be a very honest man, Major von Tell- 
heim, except that ■ 

Min. Silence, Franziska! Also a discharged officer 
from the Dutch service, who 

Maj. T. Ah ! Lieutenant Kiccaut ! 

Min. He assured us he was a friend of yours. 

Maj. T. I assure you that I am not his. 

Min. And that some minister or other had told him, 
in confidence, that your business was likely to have the 
very best termination. A letter from the king must now 
be on its way to you. 

Maj. T. How came Kiccaut and a minister in com- 
pany ? Something certainly must have happened concern- 
ing my affair ; for just now the paymaster of the forces 
told me that the king had set aside all the evidence 
offered against me, and that I might take back my pro- 
mise, which I had given in writing, not to depart from 
here until acquitted. But that will be all. They wish 
to give me an opportunity of getting away. But they are 
wrong, I shall not go. Sooner shall the utmost distress 
waste me away before the eyes of my calumniators, 
than 

Min. Obstinate man ! 

Maj. T. I require no favour; I want justice. My 
honour 

Min. The honour of such a man 

Maj. T. (warmly). No, Madam, you may be able to 
judge of any other subject, but not of this. Honour is not 
the voice of conscience, not the evidence of a few honour- 
able men 

Min. No, no, I know it well. Honour is ... . 
honour. 

Maj. T. In short, Madam You did not let me finish. 

— I was going to say, it' they keep from me so shamefully 
what is my own ; if my honour be not perfectly righted 
— I cannot, Madam, ever be yours, for I am not worthy, 
in the eyes of the world, of being yours. Minna von 



394 



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Barnhelm deserves an irreproachable , husband. It is a 
worthless love which does not scruple to expose its object 
to scorn. He is a worthless man, who is not ashamed to 
owe a woman all his good fortune ; whose blind tender- 
ness 

Min. And is that really your feeling, Major ? (turning 
her back suddenly). Franziska ! 
Maj. T. Do not be angry. 

Min. (aside to Franziska). Now is the time! What do 
you advise me, Franziska ? 

Fran. I advise nothing. But certainly he goes rather 
too far. 

Maj. T. (approaching to interrupt them). You are angry, 
Madam. 

Min. (ironically). I ? Not in the least. 
Maj. T. If I loved you less 

Min. (still in the same tone). Oh ! certainly, it would be 
a misfortune for me. And hear, Major, I also will not be 
the cause of your unhappiness. One should love with 
perfect disinterestedness. It is as well that I have not 
been more open ! Perhaps your pity might have granted 
to me what your love refuses. (Drawing the ring slowly 
from her finger.) 

Maj. T. What does this mean, Madam ? 

Min. No, neither of us must make the other either 
more or less happy. True love demands it. I believe 
you, Major ; and you have too much honour to mistake 
love. 

Maj. T. Are you jesting, Madam ? 

Min. Here ! take back the ring with which you 
plighted your troth to me. (Gives him the ring.) Let it 
be so ! We will suppose we have never met. 

Maj. T. What do I hear ! 

Min. Does it surprise you ! Take it, sir. You surely 
have not been pretending only ! 

Maj. T. (takes the ring from her). Heavens ! can Minna 
speak thus ! 

Min. In one case you cannot be mine ; in no case can 
I be yours. Your misfortune is probable ; mine is certain. 
"Farewell! (Is going.) 

Maj. T. Where are you going, dearest Minna? 



Scene VII.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



395 



Min. Sir, you insult me now by that term of endear- 
ment. 

Maj. T. What is the matter, Madam? Where are 
you going? 

Min. Leave me. I go to hide my tears from you, 
deceiver ! (Exit.) 

Scene VII. — Major von Tellheim, Franziska. 

Maj. T. Her tears ? And I am to leave her. (Is about 
to follow her.) 

Fran, (holding him bach.) Surely not, Major. You 
would not follow her into her own room ! 

Maj. T. Her misfortune ? Did she not speak of mis- 
fortune ? 

Fran. Yes, truly; the misfortune of losing you, 
after 

Maj. T. After ? After what ? There is more in this. 
What is it, Franziska ? Tell me ! Speak ! 

Fran. After, I mean, she has made such sacrifices on 
your account. 

Maj. T. Sacrifices for me ! 

Fran. Well, listen. It is a good thing for you, 
Major, that you are freed from your engagement with her 
in this manner. — Why should I not tell you ? It cannot 
remain a secret long. We have fled from home. Count 
von Bruchsal has disinherited my mistress, because she 
would not accept a husband of his choice. On that every 
one deserted and slighted her. What could we do? We 
determined to seek him, whom 

Maj. T. Enough ! Come, and let me throw myself at 
her feet. 

Fran. What are you thinking about ! Eather go, and 
thank your good fortune. 

Maj. T. Pitiful creature ! For what do you take me ? 
Yet no, my dear Franziska, the advice did not come from 
your heart. Forgive my anger ! 

Fran. Do not detain me any longer. I must see what 
she is about. How easily something might happen to her. 
Go now, and come again, if you like. (Follows Minna.) 



396 



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Scene VIII. — Major von Tellheim. 

Maj. T. But, Franziska ! Oh ! I will wait your return 
here. — No, that is more torturing ! — If she is in earnest, 
she will not refuse to forgive me. — Now I want your aid, 
honest Werner! — No, Minna, I am no deceiver! (Bushes 
off-) 



ACT V. 

Scene I. — Major von Tellheim (from one side), Werner 
(from the other.) 

Maj. T. Ah ! Werner ! I have been looking for you 
everywhere. Where have you been ? 

Wer. And I have been looking for you, Major ; that 
is always the way. — I bring you good news. 

Maj. T. I do not want your news now ; I want your 
money. Quick, Werner, give me all you have ; and then 
raise as much more as you can. 

Wer. Major ! Now, upon my life, that is just what I 
said — " He will borrow money from me, when he has got 
it himself to lend." 

Maj. T. You surely are not seeking excuses ! 

Wer. That I may have nothing to upbraid you with, 
take it with your right hand, and give it me again with 
your left. 

Maj. T. Do not detain me, Werner. It is my inten- 
tion to repay you ; but when and how, God knows ! 

Wer. Then you do not know yet that the treasury has 
received an order to pay you your money ? I just heard 
it at 

Maj. T. What are you talking about? What non- 
sense have you let them palm off on you ? Do you not see 
that if it were true I should be the first person to know 
it ? In short, Werner, money ! money ! 

We ii. Ve: y well, with pleasure. Here is some ! A 
hundred louis d'ors there, and a hundred ducats there. 
(Gives him both.) 



Scene II.] 



MINNA VON BAItNHELM. 



397 



Maj. T. Werner, go and give Just the hundred louis 
d'ors. Let him redeem the ring again, on which he raised 
the money this morning. But whence will you get some 
more, Werner ? I want a good deal more. 

Wer. Leave that to me. The man who bought my 
farm lives in the town. The date for payment is a 
fortnight hence, certainly ; but the money is ready, and 
by a reduction of one half per cent 

Maj. T. Very well, my dear Werner ! You see that I 
have had recourse to you alone — I must also confide 
all to you. The young lady you have seen is in 
distress 

Wer. That is bad! 

Maj. T. But to-morrow she shall be my wife. 
Wer. That is good ! 

Maj. T. And the day after, I leave this place with her. 
I can go ; I will go. I would sooner throw over every- 
thing here ! Who knows where some good luck may be 
in store for me. If you will, Werner, come with us. We 
will serve again. 

Wer. Eeally? But where there is war, Major ! 

Maj. T. To be sure. Go, \\ erner, we will speak of 
this again. 

Wer. Oh ! my dear Major ! The day after to-morrow ! 
Why not to-morrow? I will get everything ready. In 
Persia, Major, there is a famous war; what do you say? 

Maj. T. We will think of it. Only go, Werner ! 

Wer. Hurrah ! Long live Prince Heraclius ! (Exit,) 

Scene II. — Major von Tellheim. 

Maj. T. How do I feel ! . . . . My whole soul has 
acquired a new impulse. My own unhappiness bowed me 
to the ground ; made me fretful, short-sighted, shy, care- 
less : her unhappiness raises me. I see clearly again, 
and feel myself ready and capable of undertaking any- 
thing for her sake. Why do 1 tarry ? (7s going towards 
Minna's room, when Franziska comes out of 



398 LESSING'S DRAMATIC WOKKS. [Act V. 

Scene III. — Franziska, Major von Tellheim. 

Fran. Is it you ? I thought I heard your voice. What 
do you want, Major? 

Maj. T. What do I want ! What is she doing ? Come ! 

Fran. She is just going out for a drive. 

Maj. T. And alone ? Without me ? Where to ? 

Fran. Have you forgotten, Major ? 

Maj. T. How silly you are, Franziska! I irritated 
her, and she was angry. I will beg her pardon, and she 
will forgive me. 

Fran. What! After you have taken the ring back, 
Major ! 

Maj. T. Ah ! I did that in my confusion. I had for- 
gotten about the ring. Where did I put it ? (Searches for 
it.) Here it is. 

Fran. Is that it ? (Aside, as he puis it again in his pocket.) 
If he would only look at it closer ! 

Maj. T. She pressed it upon me so bitterly. But I 
have forgotten that. A full heart cannot weigh words. 
She will not for one moment refuse to take it again. And 
have I not hers ? 

Fran. She is now waiting for it in return. Where is 
it, Major? Show it to me, do! 

Maj. T. (embarrassed). I have .... forgotten to put 
it on. Just — Just will bring it directly. 

Fran. They are something alike, I suppose ; let me 
look at that one. I am very fond of such things. 

Maj. T. Another time, Franziska. Come now. 

Fran, (aside). He is determined not to be drawn out 
of his mistake, 

Maj. T. What do you say ? Mistake ! 

Fran. It is a mistake, I say, if you think that my 
mistress is still a good match. Her own fortune is far 
from considerable ; by a few calculations in their own 
favour her guardians may reduce it to nothing. She ex- 
pected everything from her uncle ; but this cruel uncle 

Maj. T. Let him go ! Am I not man enough to make 
it all good to her again ! 

Fran. Do you hear ? She is ringing; I must go in again. 

Maj. T. I will accompany you. 



Scene V.] MINNA VON BAENHELM. 



399 



Fran. For heaven's sake, no ! She forbad me expressly 
to speak with you. Come in at any rate a little time after 
me. (Goes in.) 

Scene IV. — Major von Tellheim. 

Ma j. T. (Calling after her.) Announce me ! Speak for 
me, Franziska ! I shall follow you directly. What shall 
I say to her ? Yet where the heart can speak, no prepara- 
tion is necessary. There is one thing only which may 
need a studied turn .... this reserve, this scrupulousness 
of throwing herself, unfortunate as she is, into my arms ; 
this anxiety to make a false show of still possessing that 
happiness which she has lost through me. How she is to 
exculpate herself to herself — for by me it is already for- 
given — for this distrust in my honour, in her own worth. 
.... Ah ! here she comes. 

Scene V. — Minna, Franziska, Major von Tellheim. 

Min. (speaking as she comes out, as if not aware of the Major's 
presence). The carriage is at the door, Franziska, is it 
not ? My fan ! 

Maj. T. (advancing to her.) Where are you going, 
Madam ? 

Min. (with forced coldness). I am going out, Major. I 
guess why you have given yourself the trouble of coming 
back : to return me my ring. — Very well, Major von 
Tellheim, have the goodness to give it to Franziska. — 
Franziska, take the ring from Major von Tellheim ! — I 
have no time to lose. (Is going.) 

Maj. T. (stepping before her). Madam! Ah! what 
have I heard ? I was unworthy of such love. 

Min. So, Franziska, you have 

Fran. Told him all. 

Maj. T. Do not be angry with me, Madam. I am no 
deceiver. You have, on my account, lost much in the eyes 
of the world, but not in mine. In my eyes you have 
gained beyond measure by this loss. It was too sudden. 
You feared it might make an unfavourable impression on 
me; at first you wished to hide it from me. I do not 



400 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act V. 



complain of this mistrust. It arose from the desire to re- 
tain my affection. That desire is my pride. You found 
me in distress ; and you did not wish to add distress to 
distress. You could not divine how far your distress would 
raise me above any thoughts of my own. 

Min. That is all very well, Major, but it is now over. 
I have released you from your engagement ; you have, by 
taking back the ring 

Ma J. T. Consented to nothing ! On the contrary, I 
now consider myself bound more firmly than ever. You 
are mine, Minna, mine for ever. (Takes off the ring.) Here, 
take it for the second time — the pledge of my fidelity. 

Min. I take that ring again ! That ring ? 

Ma j. T. Yes, dearest Minna, yes 

Min. What are you asking me? that ring? 

Maj. T. You received it for the first time from my 
hand, when our positions were similar and the circum- 
stances propitious. They are no longer propitious, but are 
again similar. Equality is always the strongest tie of 
love. Permit me, dearest Minna ! (Seizes her hand to put 
on the ring.) 

Min. What ! by force, Major ! No, there is no power 
in the world which shall compel me to take back that 
ring ! Do you think that I am in want of a ring ? Oh ! 
you may see (pointing to her ring) that I have another 
here which is in no way inferior to yours. 

Fran, (aside ). Well, if he does not see it now ! 

Maj. T. (letting fall her hand). What is this ? I see 
Fraulein von Barnhelm, but I do not hear her. — You are 
pretending. — Pardon me, that I use your own words. 

Min. (in her natural tone). Did those words offend you, 
Major ? 

Maj. T. They grieved me much. 

Min. (affected). They were not meant to do that, Tell- 
heim. Forgive me, Tellheim. 

Maj. T. Ah ! that friendly tone tells me you are your- 
self again, Minna ; that you still love me. 

Fran, (exclaims) The joke would soon have gone a 
little too far. 

Min. (in a commanding tone). Franziska, you will not 
interfere in our affairs, I beg. 



Scene V.] 



MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



401 



Fran, (aside, in a surprised tcne). Not enough yet ! 

Mm. Yes, sir, it would only be womanish vanity in 
me to pretend to be cold and scornful. No ! Never ! You 
deserve to find me as sincere as yourself. I do love you 
still, Tellheim, I love you still ; but notwithstanding 

Maj. T. No more, dearest Minna, no more ! (Seizes her 
hand again, to put on the ring.) 

Min. (drawing back her hand). Notwithstanding, so 
much the more am I determined that that shall never be, 
— never ! — Of what are you thinking, Major ? — I thought 
your own distress was sufficient. You must remain here ; 
you must obtain by obstinacy — no better phrase occurs to 
me at the moment — the most perfect satisfaction, obtain 

it by obstinacy And that even though the utmost 

distress should waste you away before the eyes of your 
calumniators 

Maj. T. So I thought, so I said, when I knew not 
what I thought or said. Chagrin and stifling rage had 
enveloped my whole soul; love itself, in the full blaze of 
happiness, could not illumine it. But it has sent its 
daughter, Pity, more familiar with gloomy misfortune, 
and she has dispelled the cloud, and opened again all the 
avenues of my soul to sensations of tenderness. The im- 
pulse of self preservation awakes, when I have something 
more precious than myself to support, and to support 
through my own exertions. Do not let the word " pity " 
offend you. From the innocent cause of our distress we 
may hear the term without humiliation. I am this cause ; 
through me, Minna, have you lost friends and relations, 
fortune and country. Through me, in me, must you find 
them all again, or I shall have the destruction of the most 
lovely of her sex upon my soul. Let me not think of a 
future in which I must detest myself. — No, nothing shall 
detain me here longer. From this moment I will oppose 
nothing but contempt to the injustice which I suffer. Is 
this country the world ? Does the sun rise here alone ? 
Where can I not go ? In what service shall I be refused ? 
And should I be obliged to seek it in the most distant 
clime, only follow me with confidence, dearest Minna — 
we shall want for nothing. I have a friend who will 
assist me with pleasure. 

VOL. II. 2 D 



402 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act V. 



Scene VI. — An Orderly, Major von Tellheim, Minna, 
Franziska. 

Fran, (seeing the Orderly). Hist, Major ! 

Maj. T. (to the Orderly). Who do you want? 

Ord. I am looking for Major von Tellheim. Ah ! you 
are the Major, I see. I have to give you this letter from 
His Majesty the King (talcing one out of his bag). 

Maj. T. Tome? 

Ord. According to the direction. 

Min. Franziska, do you hear ? The Chevalier spoke 
the truth after all. 

Ord. (whilst Tellheim takes the letter). I beg your pardon, 
Major; you should properly have had it yesterday, but 
I could not find you out. I learnt your address this 
morning only from Lieutenant Eiccaut, on parade. 

Fran. Do you hear, my lady ? — That is the Chevalier's 
minister. " What is the name of de ministre out dere, on 
de broad place?" 

Maj. T. I am extremely obliged to you for your 
trouble. 

Ord. It is my duty, Major. (Exit.) 

Scene VII. — Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska. 

Maj. T. Ah ! Minna, what is this ? What does this 
contain ? 

Min. I am not entitled to extend my curiosity so far. 

Maj. T. What ! You would still separate my fate 
from yours? — Eut why do I hesitate to open it? It 
cannot make me more unhappy than I am : no, dearest 
Minna, it cannot make us more unhappy — but perhaps 
more happy ! Permit me. ( While he opens and reads the 
letter, the Landlord comes stealthily on the stage.) 

Scene VIII. — Landlord, the rest as before. 

Land, (to Franziska). Hist ! my pretty maid ! A word ! 
Fran, (to the Landlord). Mr. Landlord, we do not yet 
know ourselves what is in the letter. 

Land. Who wants to know about the letter ! I come 



Scene IX.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



403 



about the ring. The lady must give it to me again, directly. 
Just is there, and wants to redeem it. 

Min. (icho in the meantime has approached the Landlord). 
Tell Just that it is already redeemed ; and tell him by 
whom — by me. 

Land. But 

Min. I take it upon myself. Go ! (Exit Landlord.) 

Scene IX. — Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska. 

Fran. And now, my lady, make it up with the poor 
Major. 

Min. Oh ! kind intercessor ! As if the difficulties must 
not soon explain themselves. 

Ma J. T. (after reading the letter, with much emotion.) 
Ah ! nor has he herein belied himself ! Oh ! Minna, 
what justice ! what clemency ! This is more than I ex- 
pected ; more than I deserve ! — My fortune, my honour, 
all is re-established ! — Do I dream ? (Looking at the letter, 
as if to convince himself.) No, no delusion born of my own 
desires ! Eead it yourself, Minna ; read it yourself ! 

Min. I would not presume, Major. 

Maj. T. Presume ! The letter is to me ; to your 
Tellheim, Minna. It contains — what your uncle cannot 
take from you. You must read it ! Do read it. 

Min. If it affords you pleasure, Major. (Takes the letter 
and reads.) 

" My dear Major von Tellheim, 

" I hereby inform you, that the business which 
caused me some anxiety on account of your honour, has been 
cleared up in your favour. My brother had a more detailed 
knowledge of it, and his testimony has more than proved 
your innocence. The Treasury has received orders to 
deliver again to you the bill in question, and to reimburse 
the sum advanced. I have also ordered that all claims 
which the Paymaster's Office brings forward against your 
accounts be nullified. Please to inform me whether 
your health will allow of your taking active service again. 
I can ill spare a man of your courage and sentiments. 
I am your gracious King," &c. 

Maj. T. Now, what do you say to that, Minna ? 

2 d 2 



404 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. [Act V. 



Min. (folding up and returning the letter}. I ? Nothing. 
Maj. T. Nothing? 

Min. Stay — yes. That your king, who is a great man, 
can also be a good man. — But what is that to me ! He is 
not my king. 

Maj. T. And do you say nothing more ? Nothing 
about ourselves ? 

Min. You are going to serve again. From Major, you 
will become Lieutenant-Colonel, perhaps Colonel. I con- 
gratulate you with all my heart. 

Maj. T. And you do not know me better ? No, since 
fortune restores me sufficient to satisfy the wishes of a 
reasonable man, it shall depend upon my Minna alone, 
whether for the future I shall belong to any one else but 
her. To her service alone my whole life shall be de- 
voted ! The service of the great is dangerous, and does not 
repay the trouble, the restraint, the humiliation which it 
costs. Minna is not amongst those vain people who love 
nothing in their husbands beyond their titles and positions. 
She will love me for myself; and for her sake I will forget 
the whole world. I became a soldier from party feeling — 
I do not myself know on what political principles — and 
from the whim that it is good for every honourable man 
to try the profession of arms for a time, to make himself 
familiar with danger, and to learn coolness and determina- 
tion. Extreme necessity alone could have compelled me 
to make this trial a fixed mode of life, this temporary 
occupation a profession. But now that nothing compels 
me, my whole and sole ambition is to be a peaceful and a 
contented man. This with you, dearest Minna, I shall 
infallibly become ; this in your society I shall unchange- 
ably remain. Let the holy bond unite us to-morrow ; and 
then we will look round us, and in the whole wide habitable 
world seek out the most peaceful, the brightest, most 
smiling nook which wants but a happy couple to be a Para- 
dise. There we will dwell ; there shall each day .... 
What is the matter, Minna ? (Minna turns away uneasily, 
and endeavours to hide her emotion.) 

Min. (regaining her composure). It is cruel of you, 
Tellheim, to paint such happiness to me, when I am forced 
to renounce it. My loss 



Scene IX.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



405 



Mat. T. Your loss ! Why name your loss ? All that 
Minna could lose is not Minna. You are still the sweetest, 
dearest, loveliest, best creature under the sun ; all good- 
ness and generosity, innocence and bliss ! Now and then 
a little petulant ; at times somewhat wilful — so much the 
better ! So much the better ! Minna would otherwise be 
an angel, whom I should honour with trepidation, but not 
dare to love. (Takes her hand to kiss it.) 

Min. {drawing away her hand). Not so, sir. Why this 
sudden change ? Is this nattering impetuous lover, the cold 
Tellheim ! — Could his returning good fortune alone create 
this ardour in him ? He will permit me during his passion- 
ate excitement to retain the power of reflection for us both. 
When he could himself reflect, I heard him say — " it is a 
worthless love which does not scruple to expose its object 
to scorn " — True ; and I aspire to as pure and noble a 
love as he himself. Now, when honour calls him, when a 
great monarch solicits his services, shall I consent that he 
shall give himself up to love-sick dreams with me ? that 
the illustrious warrior shall degenerate into a toying 
swain ? No, Major, follow the call of your higher 
destiny. 

Maj. T. Well ! if the busy world has greater charms 
for you, Minna, let us remain in the busy world ! How 
mean, how poor is this busy world ; you now only know 
its gilded surface. Yet certainly, Minna, you will .... 
But let it be so ! until then ! Your charms shall not want 
admirers, nor will my happiness lack enviers. 

Min. No, Tellheim, I do not mean that ! I send you 
back into the busy world, on the road of honour, without 
wishing to accompany you. Tellheim will there require 
an irreproachable wife! A fugitive Saxon girl who has 
thrown herself upon him 

Maj. T. (starting up, and looking fiercely about him). 
Who dare say that ! Ah ! Minna, I feel afraid of myself, 
when I imagine that any one but yourself could have 
spoken so. My anger against him would know no 
bounds. 

Min. Exactly ! That is just what I fear. You would 
not endure one word of calumny against me, and yet you 
would have to put up with the very bitterest ©very 



406 LESSING'S DKAMATIC WORKS. [Act V. 

day. In short, Tellheim, hear what I have firmly de- 
termined, and from which nothing in the world shall turn 
me 

Maj. T. Before you proceed, I implore you, Minna, 
reflect for one moment, that you are about to pronounce 
a sentence of life or death upon me ! 

Min. Without a moment's reflection ! .... As cer- 
tainly as I have given you back the ring with which you 
formerly pledged your troth to me, as certainly as you 
have taken back that same ring, so certainly shall the 
unfortunate Minna never be the wife of the fortunate 
Tellheim ! 

Maj. T. And herewith you pronounce my sentence. 

Min. Equality is the only sure bond of love. The 
happy Minna only wished to live for the happy Tell- 
heim. Even Minna in misfortune would have allowed 
herself to be persuaded either to increase or to assuage 
the misfortune of her friend through herself. .... He 
must have seen, before the arrival of that letter, which 
has again destroyed all equality between us, that in 
appearance only I refused. 

Maj . T. Is that true ? I thank you, Minna, that you 
have not yet pronounced the sentence. You will only 
marry Tellheim when unfortunate? You may have him. 
(Coolly.) I perceive now that it would be indecorous in me 
to accept this, tardy justice ; that it will be better if I do 
not seek again that of which I have been deprived by 
such shameful suspicion. Yes ; I will suppose that I 
have not received the letter. Behold my only answer to 
it ! ( About to tear it up.) 

Min. (stopping Mm). What are you going to do, Tell- 
heim ? 

Maj. T. Obtain your hand. 
Min. Stop ! 

Maj. T. Madam, it is torn without fail if you do not 
quickly recall your words. — Then we will see what else 
you may have to object to in me. 

Min. What! In such a tone? Shall I, must I, 
thus become contemptible in my own eyes? Never ! She 
is a worthless creature, who is not ashamed to owe her 
whole happiness to the blind tenderness of a man ! 



Scene X.] 



MINNA VON BAENHELM. 



407 



Maj. T. False ! utterly false ! 

Min. Can you venture to find fault with your own 
words when coming from my lips ? 

Maj. T. Sophistry ! Does the weaker sex dishonour 
itself by every action which does not become the stronger? 
Or can a man do everything which is proper in a woman? 
Which is appointed by nature to be the support of the 
other ? 

Min. Be not alarmed, Tellheim ! .... I shall not be 
quite unprotected, if I must decline the honour of your 
protection. I shall still have as much as is absolutely 
necessary. I have announced my arrival to our ambassador. 
I am to see him to-day. I hope he will assist me. Time 
is flying. Permit me, Maj or 

Maj. T. I will accompany you, Madam. 

Min. No, Major ; leave me. 

Maj. T. Sooner shall your shadow desert you ! Come, 
Madam, where you will, to whom you will, everywhere, 
to friends and strangers, will I repeat in your presence — 
repeat a hundred times each day — what a bond binds 
you to me, and with what cruel caprice you wish to 
break it 

Scene X. — Just, the rest as before. 

Just, (impetuously.) Major! Major! 

Maj. T. Well ! 

Just. Here quick ! quick ! 

Maj. T. Why? Come to me. Speak, what is the 
matter ? 

Just. What do you think ? {Whispers to him.) 
Min. (aside to Franziska.) Do you notice anything, 
Franziska ? 

Fran. Oh ! you merciless creature ! I have stood 
here on thorns ? 

Maj. T. (to Just.) What do you say? .... That is 
not possible ! . . . . You ? (Looking fiercely at Minna.) 
Speak it out ; tell it to her face. Listen, Madam. 

Just. The Landlord says, that Fraulein von Bam- 
helm has taken the ring which I pledged to him ; she 
recognised it as her own, and would not return it. 



408 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC W'JEKS. 



[Act V. 



Maj. T. Is that true, Madam? No, that cannot be 
true ! 

Min. (smiling). And why not, Tellheim ? Why can 
it not be true ? 

Maj. T. (vehemently). Then it is true! .... What 
terrible light suddenly breaks in upon me ! . . . . Now I 
know you — false, faithless one ! 

Min. (alarmed). Who, who is faithless ? 

Maj. T. You, whom I will never more name ! 

Min. Tellheim ! 

Maj. T. Forget my name .... You came here with 
the intention of breaking with me .... It is evident ! 
. . . . Oh, that chance should thus delight to assist the 
faithless ! It brought your ring into your possession. 
Your craftiness contrived to get my own back into 
mine ! 

Min. Tellheim, what visions are you conjuring up ! Be 
calm, and listen to me. 

Fran, (aside). Now she will catch it ! 



Scene XI. — Werner (with a purse full of gold), the rest as 
before. 

Wer. Here I am already, Major ! 
Maj. T. (without looking at him). Who wants you? 
Wer. I have brought more money ! A thousand 
pistoles ! 

Maj. T. I do not want them ! 

Wer. And to-morrow, Major, you can have as many 
more. 

Maj. T. Keep your money ! 

W er. It is your money,- Major I do not think 

you see whom you are speaking to ! 
Maj. T. Take it away ! I say. 

Wer. ' What is the matter with you ? — I am Werner. 
Maj. T. All goodness is dissimulation; all kindness, 
deceit. 

Wer. Is that meant for me ? 
Maj. T. As you please! 

Wer. Why I have only obeyed your commands. 



Scene XII.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



40D 



Maj. T. Obey once more, and be off ! 

Wer. Major ! (vexed). I am a man 

Maj. T. So much the better ! 

Wer. Who can also be angry. 

Maj. T. Anger is the best thing we possess. 

Wer. I beg you, Major. 

Maj. T. How often must I tell you ? I do not want 
your money ! 

Wer. (in a rage). Then take it, who will ! (Throws the 
purse on the ground, and goes to the side). 

Min. (to Franziska). Ah ! Franziska, I ought to have 
followed your advice. I have carried the jest too far. — 
Still, when he hears me .... (going to him). 

Fran, (without answering Minna, goes up to Werner), Mr. 
Sergeant 

Wer. (pettishly). Go along ! 

Fran. Ah ! what men these are. 

Min. Tellheim ! Tellheim ! (Tellheim, biting his fingers 
with rage, turns away his face, without listening.) No, this 

is too bad Only listen ! You are mistaken ! .... A 

mere misunderstanding. Tellheim, will you not hear your 
Minna ? Can you have such a suspicion ? .... I break 
my engagement with you ? I came here for that purpose ? 
. . . . Tellheim! 



Scene XII. — Two Servants (running into the room from 
different sides), the rest as before. 

First Ser. Your ladyship, his excellency the Count ! 

Second Ser. He is coming, your ladyship ! 

Fran, (running to the window). It is ! it is he ! 

Min. Is it ? Now, Tellheim, quick ! 

Maj. T. (suddenly recovering himself). Who, who comes ? 
Your uncle, Madam ! this cruel uncle ! . . . . Let him 
come ; just let him come ! . . . . Fear not ! . . . . He shall 
not hurt you even by a look. He shall have to deal 
with me You do not indeed deserve it of me. 

Min. Quick, Tellheim ! one embrace and forget all. 

Maj. T. Ah! did I but know that you could re- 
gret 



410 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act V. 



Mm. No, I can never regret having obtained a sight 
of your whole heart ! . . . . Ah ! what a man you are ! . . . . 
Embrace your Minna, your happy Minna : and in nothing 
more happy than in the possession of you. (Embracing.) 
And now to meet him ! 

Maj. T. To meet whom? 

Min. The best of your unknown friends. 

Maj. T. What! 

Min. The Count, my uncle, my father, your father 

My flight, his displeasure, my loss of property— do you 
not see that all is a fiction, credulous knight ? 

Maj. T. Fiction ! But the ring ? the ring ? 

Min. Where is the ring that I gave back to you ? 

Maj. T. You will take it again ? Ah ! now I am 
happy Here, Minna (taking it from his pocket). 

Min. Look at it first ! Oh ! how blind are those who 
will not see ! ... . What ring is that ? the one you gave 
me ? or the one I gave to you ? Is it not the one which I 
did not like to leave in the landlord's possession ? 

Maj. T. Heavens ! what do I see ! What do I hear ! 

Min. Shall I take it again now ? Shall I ? Give it 
to me ! give it ! ( Takes it from him, and then puts it on his 
finger herself) There, now all is right ! 

Maj. T. Where am I ? (Kissing her hand.) Oh ! 
malicious angel, to torture me so ! 

Min. As a proof, my dear husband, that you shall never 
play me a trick without my playing you one in return. 
.... Do you suppose that you did not torture me also ? 

Maj. T. Oh you actresses ! But I ought to have known 
you. 

Fran. Not I, indeed ; I am spoilt for acting. I 
trembled and shook, and was obliged to hold my lips 
together with my hand. 

Min. Nor was mine an easy part. — But come now 

Maj. T. I have not recovered myself yet. How happy, 
yet how anxious, I feel. It is like awaking suddenly 
from a frightful dream. 

Min. We are losing time I hear him coming now. 



Scene XIII.] MINNA VON BARNHELM. 



411 



Scene XIII. — Count von Bruchsal (accompanied by several 
servants and the Landlord). Hie rest as before. 

Count, (entering). She arrived in safety, I hope ? 

Min. (running to meet him). Ah ! my father ! 

Count. Here I am, dear Minna (embracing her). But 
what, girl (seeing Tellheim), only four-and- twenty hours 
here, and friends — company already ! 

Min. Guess who it is ? 

Count. Not your Tellheim, surely ! 

Min. Who else ! — Come, Tellheim (introducing him). 

Count. Sir, we have never met ; but at the first glance 
I fancied I recognised you. I wished it might be Major 
von Tellheim. — Your hand, sir ; you have my highest 
esteem ; I ask for your friendship. My niece, my 
daughter loves you. 

Min. You know that, my father !— And was my love 
blind? 

Count. No, Minna, your love was not blind ; but your 
lover — is dumb. 

Maj. T. (throwing himself in the Count's arms). Let me 
recover myself, my father ! 

Count. Eight, my son. I see your heart can speak, 
though your lips cannot. I do not usually care for those 
who wear this uniform. But you are an honourable 
man, Tellheim ; and one must love an honourable man, in 
whatever garb he may be. 

Min. Ah ! did you but know all ! 

Count. Why should I not hear all ? — WTiich are my 
apartments, landlord ? * 

Land. Will your Excellency have the goodness to walk 
this way ? 

Count. Come, Minna ! Pray come, Major ! (Exit 
with the Landlord and servants.) 
Min. Come, Tellheim ! 

Maj. T. I will follow you in an instant, Minna. One 
word first with this man (turning to Werner.) 

Min. And a good word, methinks, it should be. Should 
it not, Franziska ? (Exit. ) 



412 



LESSING'S DRAMATIC WORKS. 



[Act V. 



Scene XIV. — Major von Tellheim, Werner, Just, 
Franziska. 

Ma j. T. (pointing to the purse which Werner had thrown 
down). Here, Just, pick up the purse, and carry it home. 
Go ! (Just takes it up and goes.) 

Wer. (still standing, out of humour, in a corner, and absent 
till he hsars the last words). Well, what now ? 

Maj. T. (in a friendly tone while going up to him). Werner, 
when can I have the other two thousand pistoles? 

Wer. (in a good humour again instantly). To-morrow, 
Major, to morrow. 

Maj. T. I do not need to become your debtor ; but I 
will be your banker. All you good-natured people ought 
to have guardians. You are in a manner spendthrifts. — I 
irritated you just now, Werner. 

Wer. Upon my life you did ! But I ought not to 
have been such a dolt. Now I see it all clearly. I 
deserve a hundred lashes. You may give them to me, if 
you will, Major. Only no more ill will, dear Major ! 

Maj. T. Ill will! (shaking him by the hand.) Bead in 
my eyes all that I cannot say to you — Ah ! let me see the 
man with a better wife and a more trusty friend than I 
shall have.— Eh ! Franziska? (Exit.) 



Fran, (aside). Yes, indeed, he is more than good! — 
Such a man will never fall in my way again. — It must 
come out. (Approaching Wernkr, bashfully.) Mr. Serjeant! 



Fran. Mr. Sergeant 

Wer. What do you want, little woman ? 
Fran. Look at me, Mr. Sergeant. 

Wer. I can't yet ; there is something, I don't know 
what, in my eyes. 

Fran. Now do look at me ! 

Wer. I am afraid I have looked at you too much 
already, little woman ! — There, now I can see you. What 



Fran. Mr. Sergeant — don't you want a Mrs. Sergeant ? 



Scene XV. — Werner, Franziska. 




Well! 



then? 



Scene XV.] 



MINNA VON BARNIIELM. 



413 



Wer. Do you really mean it, little woman ? 
Fran. Really I do. 

A\ er. And would you go with me to Persia even ? 
Fran. Wherever you please. 

Wer. You will ! Hullo, Major, no boasting ! At 
any rate I have got as good a wife, and as trusty a friend, 
as you. — Give me your hand, my little woman ! It's a 
match ! — In ten years' time you shall be a general's wife, 
or a widow ! 



THE END. 



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